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Mayoral Dance Card Suddenly Shrinks

Patsy Woods Martin and Bill McLellan end fledgling campaigns

By Michael King, 5:07PM, Tue. Jan. 28

Do the Woods Martin and McLellan surrenders clear the mayoral field for Stephen I. Adler?
Do the Woods Martin and McLellan surrenders clear the mayoral field for Stephen I. Adler?

The very tentative field of Austin mayoral candidates shrunk abruptly this week, as two prominent candidates who had declared themselves with some fanfare abruptly announced they would not be running. Philanthropist Patsy Woods Martin and Family Eldercare official Bill McLellan both announced they were ending their brief campaigns.

In a Jan. 26 email to supporters, Woods Martin said that while she still believed she would make a good mayor, she had found herself "spending way too much time bogged down in a process that appears to have little to do with public service." Accordingly, she wrote, "before we invite more folks to join us, I believe it’s time to pull the plug.”

And in a more formal Jan. 28 press release, McLellan discussed his willingness to serve but said, "recent personal and family circumstances will not allow me the focus needed to devote full attention to the mayoral bid and the important issues our city faces." Among those McLellan included the proposed "Innovation Corridor" near the planned UT medical school, transportation, and campaign finance reform.

In ending his own campaign, McLellan endorsed attorney Stephen Adler of Barron & Adler. "When my good friend Steve Adler recently declared his candidacy, I knew that it was unnecessary for me to remain in the race," McLellan wrote. "Steve and I share a similar vision for Austin, and from working with him on various civic issues I know he has the intelligence, character, and drive to make an outstanding mayor."

At least one version of the backstory has Adler locking up so much early monied support that Woods Martin and McLellan decided to run for cover. In any case, these announcements leave Adler and Council Member Mike Martinez as the only effectively declared candidates currently in the race, with Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Council Member Laura Morrison still considering their options. Former Austin ISD board chair Mark Williams told the Statesman last week that he is no longer considering a run, since there were already sufficient "qualified candidates" in the mix. (With the field suddenly shrinking, perhaps Williams will have second or third thoughts.)

For the full and regularly updated slate of potential mayoral and City Council candidates, see "The Pols Just Keep On Coming" on the Chronicle's election page.

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