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The Bulging Ballot

Would-be City Council candidates continue to multiply

By Michael King, 5:00PM, Tue. Jan. 7

The Bulging Ballot

At Burnt Orange Report we've been designated "The Great Mentioner" –– for our ongoing (and burgeoning) catalog of potential Council candidates. More to Mention:

Since last Friday's print edition, when we published the second list of folks who say they're thinking of running for City Council next November, yet another half-dozen have entered the discussion. Some old and familiar, some new -- the most prominent name likely Jade Chang Sheppard, who told Newsdesk she is "going through campaign withdrawal" from her recent primary gambit in state House District 50, and is "analyzing the district" (Northwest/North District 6) and "strongly considering" a run there. Chang Sheppard emphasized she's also involved in a couple of new business projects, and is not certain she will run, but said she enjoyed the campaign experience and appreciates that the relatively small size of Council (at least compared to the Legislature) means serving there could have more immediately tangible effects.

Others now planning or considering runs include: Sam Osemene (District 1), who in 2008 unsuccessfully challenged Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole for Place 6, says "The game is on"; in District 3, Nicholas Lucier, ACC student and activist (currently against city water fluoridation) expects to run; Eric Rangel, who challenged Laura Morrison in Place 4 in 2011, says he's "highly considering" a run (also in District 3); Josiah Ingalls, who's taken previous shots at both mayor and Council, says he's thinking about a run in District 7; and in the already crowded (West/Northwest) District 10 virtual ballot, Matt Lamon, chief of staff to state Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville), says he "intends to seek the seat" coveted by as many as six possible candidates.

Note: We only mention potential candidates with whom we've been able to confirm at least consideration of a run; that means for a few names still persistently floating around or buzzing about, we've either been unable to connect or else the person has declined to confirm an interest yet. There's a chance a couple more names will land on the list by Thursday's print edition.

And we highly recommend Katherine Haenschen's speculative piece, "I Think We'll Need a Bigger Ballot Box," on the effect of 10-1 and the November election date on Council and on city government -- it will be quite a roller-coaster.

Moreover - although the would-be Council-member names keep multiplying - remember that filing does not happen until July*, and the municipal election itself in November. Much more up close and personal is the Jan. 28 runoff between Democrat Celia Israel and Republican Mike VanDeWalle for voters in HD 50 (early voting Jan. 20-24). That will shortly be followed by the March 4 primaries (early voting Feb. 18-28), dominated by the Commissioners Court races (county judge and Pct. 2 commissioner). Note: only the contested Dem race for county judge, between Andy Brown and Sarah Eckhardt, will involve all county voters.

We plan to have a Master List of City Council Candidates available online before the week is out. If you're considering coming out of the cold -- or you know someone who is -- please drop Newsdesk a line at mking@austinchronicle.com.

*CORRECTION: The filing month here was initially noted as May; campaigns can designate treasurers and formally begin raising and spending money May 4 (180 days before election day), but the official filing period runs from July 19 to Aug. 18. I thank sharp-eyed Ken Martin of The Austin Bulldog for that correction.

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