America proclaims president

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Donald Trump took the most important position in the nation as he became the presidential-elect Tuesday night as one of the longest election seasons have finally drawn to a close.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Trump to formally concede defeat shortly before 2 a.m.

Republicans also retain U.S. House and Senate majority and usurp political party control of the nation’s capital.

Trump narrowly stole Texas from Clinton in a 52 to 44 percent voting margin. Expectedly, Clinton won her home state, New York, in a landslide.

But in Austin County voting, which are unofficial at the moment, out of 18 voting precincts, Trump easily defeated Clinton 78 percent to 18 percent.

Core messages got lost down the homestretch, nationally, because of illicit activities from both candidates. For Clinton, it was all about her email policies and mishandling classified material pertaining to national security. For Trump, first it was about perceived disdain for the Mexican populace, and then constantly facing sexual harassment allegations. Neither one got away from the scrutiny to focus on future policy.

As much as they disagreed, their core economic policies weren’t that different: provide a vehicle for investment, growth and prosperity. Healthcare, tax reform, immigration and Second Amendment rights carried the biggest differences.

Some things remain the same — namely some state senate and house seats.

On the state level, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul easily held onto his District 10 seat by defeating Democratic candidate Tawana Cadien and Libertarian candidate Bill Kelsey.

The same took place for District 18 seat of the Texas State Senate, where incumbent Lois Kolkhorst faced off against Libertarian candidate Kathie L. Stone and won handily.

Kolkhorst spent much of her first term in the Senate waging war for better education, better infrastructure and objecting to misuse of taxpayer dollars in areas like toll roads.

District 13 State Representative incumbent Leighton Schubert and Democratic opponent Cecil Webster spent the last year or so going head-to-head vying for the Texas House District 13 seat, but Schubert will retain his spot for his first full-term election.

After winning a special election in February 2015 against former Austin County Judge Carolyn Bilski, Schubert succeeded Kolkhorst’s vacated seat as she took her place in the senate.

Local in-county races were uncontested this November as candidates either settled their races during the March primaries or went unopposed. Those candidates and positions include Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes, Pct. 3 Commissioner Randy Reichardt, Pct. 1 Constable Virgil Price, Pct. 2 Constable Dave Schulz, Pct. 3 Constable Ronnie Griffin, Pct. 4 Constable James Clark, and newly elected officials Kim Rinn for county tax assessor/collector and Mark Lamp for Pct. 1 Commissioner.

During the last two presidential general elections, early voting numbers for Austin County, historically, barely exceeded 6,000: 5,447 in 2008 and 6,046 in 2012. This season, early voting hit 6,854 residents by Nov. 1, which did not include mail-in ballots, according to the county tax assessor/collector and election official’s office. The difference between 2012 and 2016 represents a 13.3 percent increase in early voters.

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