City Council Election

Money toward May

City Council Election
Illustration by Doug Potter

While most political eyes remain focused on the national and March 4 Texas primaries, and the May 10 municipal election is months away, City Council candidates are already raising money and their public profiles – and broadcasting the results.

The Jan. 15 deadline to report funds raised last year turned into a PR battle for the big three candidates looking to fill incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Betty Dunkerley's term-limited Place 4 seat. The candidates issued dueling press releases trumpeting their fundraising prowess. Downtown Austin Alli­ance board member and urban-planning maven Cid Galindo raised $7,350 in Decem­ber and $3,800 this month, for more than $11,000. However, he has already spent more than $14,000 on campaign expenses, including $6,250 in consulting retainer fees to Kelly Vidovic; a $10,000 loan to himself has closed the difference. Development consultants Michael Casias and Tom Stacy are among Galindo's contributors.

Environmentalist and Friends of Barton Springs Pool founding member Robin Cravey reported $13,900 raised, plus another $4,400 in January. As of filing, he's spent nearly $12,150, $3,000 of that in consulting fees to Stanley-Garri­son & Associates; former Council Member Beverly Grif­fith and Planning Commissioner David Sullivan are among his contributors. (Parks liaison to the Downtown Commission Jeb Boyt contributed to both Cravey and Galindo.)

Accumulating the most treasure thus far, however, is former Austin Neighborhoods Council leader Laura Morrison, reporting $40,015 raised by the reporting cutoff – not counting any funds raised this year. Beverly Griffith also contributed to Morrison, as did Zoning and Platting Commission member Clarke Hammond. Morrison has spent $21,200: Consultant Matt Glazer (editor of Burnt Orange Report) has received $1,375; Ignite Consulting got $3,375 for yard signs and another $955 for "design services."

A fourth filed candidate, Samuel Osemene, a Navy veteran pursuing a political science master's degree from UT, has spent $1,300 of his own money. (Perennial candidate Jennifer Gale reports $12 in contributions, none of it yet spent.)

Over in Place 1, incumbent Lee Leffing­well collected $46,900 by the end of December. He has several $600 bundled contributions from couples, including Paul Carrozza (owner of RunTex) and his spouse and developer Larry Warshaw and wife Meredith Page Warshaw. At filing time, Leffingwell had spent a relatively modest $1,300. His only declared opponent, Allen Dem­ling, running on a bike-friendly transit and arts-supportive platform, reported $650 in contributions, including a $150 donation of ad space in local zine Misprint. He has loaned himself $2,500. (Both Responsible Growth for Northcross Communications Chair Jason Meeker and FixAustin spokesman Ryan Clinton are reportedly considering Place 1 runs, but neither had yet filed or announced as of press time.)

The Place 3 throw-down between incumbent Jennifer Kim and Internet charity entrepreneur Randi Shade has the coun­cil member reporting $56,700 in end-of-year contributions to Shade's nearly $62,200. Kim has spent $12,765, more than $9,950 of that to Ignite Consulting for "consulting fees, ad printing [and] data/voter lists," and also loaned $7,700 to herself. Shade has loaned herself $10,000; so far, she has spent $3,316, with $1,727 of that going to printing. (A third candidate, Texas Army National Guards­man Ken Weiss, has collected $860 in contributions and another $120 in loans and reports expenditures of $923.)

City Council Races

The following candidates have filed contribution and expense reports for the May 10 City Council election.

*= incumbent

Place 1

Lee Leffingwell*

Allen Demling

Place 3

Jennifer Kim*

Randi Shade

Ken Weiss

Place 4

Cid Galindo

Robin Cravey

Laura Morrison

Samuel Osemene

Jennifer Gale

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