David Yates Jan. 29, 2014, 7:51pm

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Travis County voters braved icy weather Tuesday to elect Celia Israel, a Democrat, over Republican challenger Mike VanDeWalle, making her the next representative of Texas House District 50.

The empty seat was due to the resignation of former Rep. Mark Strama. Last June, Strama abruptly resigned to run Austin's new Google Fiber project, prompting an off-year special election.

After both candidates failed to garner 50 percent of the vote, Gov. Rick Perry issued proclamation calling for a special runoff election.

Early voting in the contest started Jan. 20, during which Israel captured 2,653 votes to VanDeWalle's 1,854.

Israel finished the election with nearly 60 percent of the total vote, landing 6,129 votes overall. VanDeWalle finished with 4,185 votes for 40.58 percent of the total vote, according to traviscountyclerk.org.

Israel, who worked on Ann Richards' campaign for governor, ran on a platform of supporting higher education; expanding healthcare; ending discriminatory practices; making renewable energies cost efficient and public transportation more readily available; and investing more in public education.

She is a realtor in the Austin area.

VanDeWalle is a doctor of chiropractic.

From Legal Newsline: Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com.

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