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After cruel campaigning, Ballesteros seals constable nomination

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Political consultants often say negative campaigning works.

In the Travis County Precinct 2 Constable race, that game plan could be the reason incumbent Adan Ballesteros won the democratic nomination against his opponent, Michael Cargill. Ballesteros sealed the deal with 62 percent of the vote, Cargill snagged 38 percent.

Ballesteros used a 1998 mug shot of Cargill on signs big and small around the county to call his opponent corrupt. Cargill was arrested on a class C misdemeanor for writing a $20 hot check.

"We ran a good campaign. We actually received a lot more punches than we gave," Cargill said. "We only responded after we were hit twice."

On the other hand, Cargill labeled Ballesteros the "cocaine constable," for his involvement in a DPS drug trafficking investigation. Ultimately, Ballesteros was fired as a trooper but never charged with a crime.

Cargill said he is disappointed negative campaigning has become normal in modern politics.

"If you're able to convince the citizens of Travis County that a candidate, who's never been charged, never been convicted of any crime,” Cargill said. “If you can convince the citizens that I am a criminal, then I guess he deserves to win the race."

Even after surgery, Travis County voter Brian Stewart made his way to the polls. He said campaign attacks promote deception that hurts the political system.

"They should have somebody on the side saying this true, this is false," he said. "You know, you hear things and it's hard to understand all the politicos. It's all complicated and I don't think anybody knows. Even the politicians don't know what going on."

Ballesteros has avoided on camera interviews. His campaign says the constable chose to stay home election night, following the grueling campaign.

In the end, Constable Ballesteros held on. We'll have to wait to see if he uses the same strategy against Republican Toby Miller as we get closer to November.

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