It's Your City Council!

Candidate and campaign profiles for your consideration

The overriding issue in the May 12 municipal election is not on the ballot: years of steadily declining voter turnout reflecting a public largely disengaged from local government and local issues. In recent years, turnout has been running persistently below 10%, although for a mayoral election it may get as high as 13-14%. (Because of this year's confusion over the movable party primaries, there is concern the problem will worsen.) Theories for the diminishing returns range from "essentially satisfied voters" to "completely alienated voters" to more practical explanations: for example, the all at-large voting system and campaign funding limits that also limit outreach to voters, who have heard much less (primarily on TV) about local issues and candidates than, say, the GOP presidential race. Yet local governments have a much more direct effect on our daily lives and neighborhoods, and our municipal votes are proportionally much more powerful than national ones.

Ripples in some early endorsements do reflect deep dissatisfaction with the current council on matters such as growth, development, and affordability – central issues in the mayoral campaign – but the broad slate of challengers most consistently reflects a sort of free-floating libertarianism from candidates with little political experience. The mayor's race and Place 5 feature most of the action, but there is plenty here to allow voters to consider the prospects and future of Austin and its city government.

In that light, the Chronicle offers this overview of the candidates, with brief summaries on the individual races and thumbnails of the specific candidates (asterisks denote incumbents). We've gathered that information from candidates' statements, questionnaires, forum appearances, websites (where available), and any other information we've been able to find.

To vote in this election, you must be registered to vote by April 12; early voting runs from April 30 to May 8.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More City Council election
Charge It: Council Cash on Hand
Charge It: Council Cash on Hand
A flurry of last-minute fundraising – and charges and counter-charges between mayoral candidates

Amy Smith, May 11, 2012

Then There's This: Skid Marks
Then There's This: Skid Marks
The mayor's race takes a sharp turn in the final lap

Amy Smith, May 11, 2012

More by Michael King
Point Austin: Vouchers, Borders, and Critical (White) Race Theory
Point Austin: Vouchers, Borders, and Critical (White) Race Theory
Gov. Abbott does his damnedest to block the Texas future

Nov. 21, 2023

The Exquisite Torments of Ken Paxton
The Exquisite Torments of Ken Paxton
Why is everybody so mean to the Texas Attorney General?

Sept. 18, 2023


City Council election, mayor, Place 2, Place 5, Place 6

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle