AUSTIN, Texas -- The election season's not over for a few undecided races in Travis County.
Two Austin Community College seats are headed to a runoff, as well as one City Council race. One City Council candidate is getting a financial boost going into December.
District 10 candidate Alison Alter agreed not to spend more than $75,000 in the general election, a pledge incumbent Sheri Gallo chose not to make.
"I knew from my campaign two years ago that we would spend over the $75,000 limits," Gallo said.
That decision could cost her, as Alter unlocks a fund that gives her runoff bid a boost.
"This year was like a sweepstakes," political consultant Steven Rivas said. "More than $60,000 went into one City Council race."
Alter will receive a total of $64,171.19. That money comes from lobbyist and filing fees collected by the City Clerk.
"I think it's the perfect irony," Alter said. "That's what it's designed for because lobbyists can give money to Council Members."
Another stipulation of Alter receiving the money is that a PAC does not spend more than $15,000 during the general election to her benefit. Arbor PAC supported both Alter and Rob Walker in the District 10 race. Alter also received support from Workers Defense Action Fund PAC and the Travis County Democratic Party, campaign finance reports show.
A total of 76 lobbyists are registered with the City of Austin. Campaign finance laws prohibit them and their spouses from giving campaigns more than $25; the cap for non-lobbyists is $350. Still, that can amass a sizable war chest for a campaign focused on only 80,000 Austin residents.
"Ms. Alter had raised almost $90,000," Gallo said. "That's not really, in my view, the intention of this fund. I think it is a loophole that is being abused."
Gallo was 643 votes short of winning her seat outright Nov. 8. Since she forewent the Fair Campaign Finance Pledge, she is also almost $20,000 behind Alter in campaign contributions.
"Maybe it's time to revise some of our ethics rules in Austin for the runoff election and the funding that's associated with it," Rivas said.
Rivas suggested a cap for the amount a runoff candidate can receive. That would have to be approved by the City Council.
Candidates must sign the Fair Campaign Pledge within 30 days of entering the race. That gives candidates who enter the race late an advantage, since incumbents like Gallo generally enter the race as early as possible.
When Alter filed for candidacy July 12, the window had already closed for Gallo to sign the pledge.
"I read the fine print, and that's what you have to do," Alter said.
Three candidates in 2014 received money from the Fair Campaign Finance Fund. They include District 3 Council Member Sabino Renteria, former District 3 candidate Susana Almanza and District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool.