The Party Line
By Jenny Staff Johnson, Fri., May 12, 2000
You know your political campaign has been a snooze when the most exciting thing going on on election night is a Frisbee giveaway. With Mayor Kirk Watson's runaway victory a foregone conclusion, his supporters had better things to do than pound the pavement for their candidate. The best use of that time and effort was made by Watson's former aide, Larry Warshaw, who arrived at Saturday night's victory party at Threadgill's with a cardboard box full of Frisbees bearing the mayor's likeness. The discs featured a mesmerizing spiral pattern and the slogan "Kirk Watson An Austin Original," and came in both regular and glow-in-the-dark varieties. There being little else to do, Watson stationed himself amidst the middle-sized crowd with a regulation-issue black Sharpie, autographing the keepsakes.
His re-election all but certain, Watson had spent Saturday on personal pursuits, attending his son's baseball game (where, it happened, he was fortuitously tracked down by an Austin American-Statesman photographer who captured the nonchalant mayor on the sidelines with a cell phone, no doubt checking in on election returns).
Watson didn't roll into Threadgill's until after 9:00, by which time the crowd -- which included Council Members Daryl Slusher, Bill Spelman, and Jackie Goodman, along with supporters Leslie Pool, Ann Kitchen, Robin Rather, Glen Maxey, and Elliott Naishtat -- was becoming restless. Retiring Council Member Spelman, perhaps unaware that his right shoulder sported a name tag reading "HELLO, I'M A HOTTIE," regaled the crowd with tales of his summer plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with his family. Ever the professor, Spelman shared the little-known fact that the famous mountain is actually in Tanzania, where it just so happens his wife was born, and not in Kenya. That was some of the best action happening at the party -- that is until the Frisbees showed up, and everybody went wild.
The fun was interrupted by the call for Watson to head over to Palmer Auditorium to do his victory lap. When he did, he and his supporters walked into the drama that had been building over in Place 5, where Will Wynn surprised Clare Barry's supporters by topping 50% of the vote and securing election without runoff.
Watson's opponents, Leslie Cochran, Jennifer Gale, and Dale A. Reed, were not in evidence at Palmer, and after the TV interviews were done, the mayor himself didn't hang around long at election central. On the way out the door, he was heard offering fellow Council Member Daryl Slusher a beer, and with that, the newly re-elected mayor and his Frisbee-waving fans were off again to Threadgill's to begin their celebration in earnest.
Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.