A&M professor John Crompton ousted longtime College Station
Councilman John Happ on Saturday in an election that the winner said
came down to differing views on neighborhood protection.
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Eagle Photo/Gabriel Chmielewski
Crompton shakes hands with College Station Mayor Ben White shortly
after finding out he had won the runoff election Saturday evening at
the College Station City Hall. Crompton beat former Councilman John
Crompton garnered 1,787 votes, or about 61 percent of the ballots. Happ received 1,158 votes, or 39 percent.
The runoff was necessary because neither Happ nor Crompton secured
more than 50 percent of the vote during the May 12 election. At that
time, Crompton got 1,670 votes, or 46 percent, and Happ got 1,532
votes, or 43 percent. A third candidate, Bobby Miksch, received 396
Crompton maintained the lead throughout Saturday evening as votes
were tallied at College Station City Hall, where he watched the results
come in with his family.
Throughout his campaign, Crompton said that neighborhoods were his
top priority. He suggested increasing development fees to pay for
growth. A dedicated fund could pay for new roads and expanded hiking
and biking trails, according to Crompton, a professor of recreation,
parks and tourism sciences.
"I think the reason there was so much turnout is there was a
dichotomous agenda," Crompton said. "People perceived Mr. Happ and I to
be very different. We offered a very different agenda."
Happ, the director of Easterwood Airport, has said transportation
issues are a top priority. Growth should be controlled by the city's
comprehensive plan, a document that guides thoroughfare planning and
land use, Happ has said. The former councilman pushed for changes in
state legislation that would allow cities to increase the sales tax by
1 cent to fund transportation projects.
Happ spent Saturday evening with his family and supporters at his home in Pebble Creek.
"The voters spoke, and I accept that," Happ said after the votes
were counted. "I am disappointed that I couldn't turn out more people.
I think Mr. Crompton ran a respectable race, and I compliment him on
that. I wish him great success."
Happ said his downfall could have been his vote a year ago to rezone
property at the corner of Rock Prairie Road and Earl Rudder Freeway,
paving the way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The rezoning was denied, but
Happ's vote resonated with people who live on the east side of the
Bypass, many of whom vocally supported Crompton.
"A lot of misinformation has gone out and that I can't help," Happ
said. "Citizens today live by e-mails. People said I voted for
Wal-Mart. I did not vote for Wal-Mart. I voted to rezone that land from
[agricultural] to [commercial]. It's going to be commercial someday.
It's just a matter of time. It's too valuable of a corner."
Happ, 61, was a councilman for five years before resigning his Place 2 seat because of the city's policy on term limits.
He said Saturday it's too early to decide whether he'll seek elected office in the future.
"I still care about the city a great deal," he said.
Crompton said he thinks the election results show that College Station residents are ready for change.
"Tonight the people have said they want new growth to pay for
itself," he said. "We want to change the model. I've put forth a
suggestion for how to do that, and it will be a starting point for
The Place 1 seat carries a one-year term. The post was vacated by Ben White, who resigned to run for mayor.
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