McCracken Hits the Campaign Circuit

Mayor Pro Tem announces run at solar panel plant, but Leffingwell supporters still wax sunny

McCracken: Electrifying!
McCracken: Electrifying! (Photo by Wells Dunbar)

Brewster McCracken flipped the switch on the 2009 mayoral race with his official election announcement today. Flanked by his wife, campaign emissaries and supporters, McCracken succinctly squeezed his campaign vision into four points: a "21st century" economy of digital and green job growth; clean energy, tied into McCracken's smart grid enterprise, the Pecan Street Project; job training and an "Austin Endowment for Opportunity" tailored for social service investments; and – but what else? – de rigeur emphasis on neighborhood needs. The first two, more tech-related, points were emphasized by McCracken's choice of locale, the immaculate, white-walled and cavernous HelioVolt factory in South Austin.

Not to be outdone, supporters of Lee Leffingwell – thought strong competition for McCracken, yet incapable of announcing his candidacy until January, lest he trigger a financially (and politically) costly special election – today announced a committee to "draft" Leffingwell into the race. “Draft Lee Leffingwell For Mayor”was unveiled today by longtime parks and open space dude Ted Siff; a website, public rally, and fundraisers are all apparently in the works.

The Leffingwell release, after the jump.

LEFFINGWELL SUPPORTERS PLANNING RALLY AT CITY HALL NEXT WEEK

Austin, Texas – A local environmental advocate, neighborhood leader and Democratic activist has formed a political action committee to encourage Austin City Council member Lee Leffingwell to run for Austin mayor in 2009. Ted Siff filed papers at Austin City Hall this morning creating the “Draft Lee Leffingwell For Mayor” committee.

Siff is a former Executive Director of the Austin Parks Foundation, former Texas Director of the Trust For Public Land, former Board Chair of Earth Share of Texas, and former Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Preserve. Siff has also been a leader of the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association and Old Austin Neighborhood Association, and is the former publisher of Quorum Report.

Siff said Leffingwell, who won re-election to a second term on the City Council in May, is the best choice to serve as Austin’s next mayor. “I and many others in Austin believe that Lee Leffingwell offers the maturity, reliability, proven record and progressive vision that we want and need from our next mayor,” said Siff. “The committee’s goal will be to encourage Lee to run for mayor, and to rally public support for his prospective candidacy.”

Siff said that Leffingwell has indicated that he is seriously considering a mayoral run in 2009, but under Texas state law cannot announce a mayoral candidacy until January without automatically vacating his City Council seat and triggering a special election at taxpayer expense. After a January deadline, Siff said, any election to fill Leffingwell’s vacated Council seat would be held in conjunction with the regular May municipal election, at no additional cost.

Siff said he formed the “Draft Lee for Mayor” committee after talking with a group of Austin environmental, neighborhood and Democratic leaders who support a Leffingwell mayoral candidacy. Siff said the committee will begin raising money immediately to encourage Leffingwell to run, and that a website launch and a public rally supporting Leffingwell is being planned for early next week. “We intend to be loud and clear about our support for Lee’s candidacy,” said Siff. “Lee Leffingwell is the candidate that progressive Austinites can trust to take the helm at City Hall.”

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

City Council, Elections, Election 2009, Brewster McCracken, Lee Leffingwell, Mayor, HelioVolt, Draft Leffingwell, Ted Siff

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