Question: Did David Barksdale’s support of the Reisz Mahal cost him re-election?

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Now that the election is over, maybe I can finally start writing about what I REALLY think.

Or maybe not.

Either way, to kick things off with post-election analysis, a question for readers: Incumbent at-large councilman David Barksdale (Republican) lost his seat to newcomer Jason Applegate, a recent convert to the Democratic Party.

Last year Barksdale famously broke with his party and joined council’s four Democrats to cast the deciding vote on the Reisz Mahal luxury city hall project.

Did this hurt him among fiscally conservative Republicans?

“I was very honored to be on the council for four years,” Barksdale told the Tom May Evangel-Bune. “I voted for what I thought was best for the citizens. There is always another day.”

Speaking personally, I thought he’d be forgiven, but after garnering 3,365 votes in 2015, Barksdale received 3,371 this year, a gain of only six. Meanwhile his Republican council colleagues Al Knable and David Aebersold added 704 and 386 votes, respectively. In short, the higher turnout in 2019 didn’t help Barksdale at all, and his Reisz Mahal legacy might be one reason.

An interesting sidebar to Barksdale’s loss: who will replace him as council’s appointment to the Redevelopment Commission?

I’m guessing it will be Applegate, who stressed “smart growth” in his unsuccessful bid for county commissioner in 2018.

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