With Tuesday's announcement that Council Member Laura Morrison will not be running for mayor this fall, and Wednesday's announcement that Council Member Mike Martinez will be running for mayor, the field for the top job got a little clearer. Early on, as many as seven people expressed serious interest in a mayoral run, with two (Bill McLellan and Patsy Woods Martin) actually declaring – then backing out a few weeks later.
As events stand now, only Martinez and attorney Stephen Adler (of Barron & Adler) have clearly declared their intentions to run. Adler has a website and a Facebook page, and has been actively campaigning for weeks. Martinez said he will formally announce April 5, with a "10-district kick-off tour." Of the original "maybes," only Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole has not yet confirmed whether she will, indeed, run. Wednesday afternoon, she said she is still "seriously considering" a run and is "working on it," but has not yet made a decision. (Morrison, Martinez, and Cole are all term-limited from running again for their current seats, absent a petition campaign.)
In his preannouncement announcement, Martinez emphasized policy proposals ranging from promoting affordability, improving transportation ("roads and urban rail"), fighting poverty, protecting the environment, and increasing city efficiency. His initial trump card against Adler is "City Hall experience": "With an entirely new City Council, City Hall is going to be moving in a new direction," Martinez said. "That's why I believe Austin needs a leader with City Hall experience in the mayor's office. As mayor, I will work with the new Council to ensure we hit the ground running and that geographic representation is successful and effective from day one."
Morrison had dodged early comment on a mayoral run, but said she was giving the question serious consideration. On Tuesday she said she was responding in part to an online petition campaign (www.draftlaura4mayor.com) that praised her "love, commitment, experience, good judgment, hard work, and respect for Austin" and exhorted her to run. She told the Chronicle, "I appreciate the encouragement I've gotten from a lot of people who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. It is beyond flattering and complimentary." She continued, "Serving as a council member has definitely been the most rewarding professional experience I've ever had, and it's been a privilege and an honor." She added that she isn't yet certain what she'll do next, but trusts "that I will serve and be involved in the community in some other fashion. It is a complete unknown. I will wait a while and see how things sort out."
Beyond the city-wide mayoral run, which will garner the most campaign funds and biggest headlines, the 10 district races are also undergoing a winnowing. A couple more potential names have stepped forward. Jimmy Paver, an Allandale resident who has worked for both U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett and state Rep. Mark Strama, and is currently development director for his family-owned Stepping Stone Schools, says he's considering a run in District 7. Marketing professional and neighborhood activist Sharon Mays is considering adding her name to the District 4 race.
A more precise indicator of who's getting serious early is the list of campaign treasurer designations filed with the city clerk – the first step toward an actual campaign. Campaigns can designate treasurers now, and can formally begin raising and spending money (other than their own) on May 4 (180 days before election day), but the official filing-for-office period runs from July 19 to Aug. 18.
Here's the current list of would-be candidates who have indeed designated treasurers with the city clerk's office:
Mayor: Stephen Adler;
District 3: Mario Cantu, Shaun Ireland;
District 4: Greg Casar;
District 5: Ann Kitchen;
District 6: Jimmy Flannigan, Jay Wiley;
District 7: Ed English, Pete Salazar Jr.;
District 8: Darrell Pierce;
District 10: Tina Cannon*[see Update below] Mandy Dealey, Robert Thomas, Sheri Gallo, Marjorie "Margie" Burciaga.
And by the (high)way, two transportation-related political action committees have also filed treasurer designations: Let's Go Austin, filed by Greg Hartman to "support the transportation bond for Austin"; and Our Rail, to support a charter amendment that would "designate the Guadalupe-North Lamar corridor to receive top priority for a light rail transit alignment."
Check for campaign updates and the master list of possible City Council candidates on our elections page, www.austinchronicle.com/elections. If you think we've omitted someone who should be on the list, please drop @PointAustin an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Update: Tina Cannon's treasurer designation was posted on the City Clerk's web site Wednesday afternoon, March 19, after the Chronicle's press deadline.
Copyright © 2016 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.