The Austin Chronicle

Very Early Returns: Calling All Council Candidates!

By Michael King, December 27, 2013, News

The next municipal election – formerly a spring affair – takes place Nov. 4, 2014, when a new mayor and 10 City Council members will be chosen by Austin voters, the latter for the first time from single-member districts (each including approximately 80,000 residents). Until then, the full governmental effect of SMDs remains unknown.

But the immediate political effect is already manifesting: plenty of potential (or definite) candidates. Although the filing (starting July 19) and official campaign periods (opening early May) are several months away, a number of folks have already declared their candidacies, and many more say they're in the "exploratory" or "seriously considering" stage. The mayoral dance card is already burgeoning, as are a few of the district races – others remain wide open at this early stage.

Although we certainly didn't connect with everybody in the potential pool – especially during the busy holidays – we contacted as many real or rumored candidates as possible, to compile a list of "certains," "possibles," and "maybes." Here's a pending candidate list to ponder as the new year turns; undoubtedly it's incomplete – if you should be on it, or if you know someone considering a run, drop a line to


As expected, at least two and perhaps three sitting Council members – term-limited from their current seats – are contemplating mayoral runs. The field is also filling up with local VIPs who will likely be able to underwrite a citywide campaign. (And we can expect a few literal wild cards as the filing date approaches.)

Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole says she is "thinking about" a run, hopes to make a "family decision" by early spring.

CM Mike Martinez has not made a "final decision," but does "want to serve in that capacity at some point" and "would expect to be a candidate" to be a mayor "who understands the working people of this community."

Bill McLellan, former 3M executive, chief development officer at Family Eldercare, and longtime civic activist, is "certainly running" – and this week his Facebook page announced: "Candidate for Mayor."

Patsy Woods Martin is a community leader, and founder of "I Live Here, I Give Here" philanthropic effort; "friend and advisor" Robert Jones says she's "seriously exploring" a mayoral run and is in the "first phase" of that process.

Laura Morrison did not respond to queries, but is reportedly still considering a run.

Mark Williams, former AISD board chair, says he is being encouraged to run, and is "seriously considering" the idea.

Stephen Adler, eminent domain attorney and co-founder of Barron & Adler, LLP, says he's been encouraged by "a fairly wide group of folks," and is considering a possible run.

DISTRICT 1 (East/Northeast)

Ora Houston, veteran civic activist (most recently in the single-member district campaign), is "definitely running," according to friend and longtime political consultant David Butts.

DeWayne Lofton, former Place 6 candidate in 2006, says he's been "waiting a long time for another opportunity" and is "looking forward to seeing how this new system will work."

DISTRICT 2 (Southeast)

Delia Garza, assistant attorney general, former firefighter (Local 975), and Charter Revision Committee member, says she "plans to run" and intends to "provide a voice for a part of Austin that hasn't had a voice."

Marco Mancillas, executive director of the Hispanic Physicians Association, has also been mentioned, but there's no confirmation at press time.

DISTRICT 3 (East/Southeast)

Susana Almanza, co-director of People Organized in the Defense of Earth and Her Resources, did not respond to Chronicle queries, but elsewhere has unofficially announced her candidacy.

Perla Cavazos, former Council candidate (2009) and legislative director, is "leaning towards" another run, but remains in the "exploratory stage."

Jayme Mathias, current AISD board member, is "committed to completing his term" but is being "encouraged to consider" a run by ­supporters.

Fred McGhee, author and public housing advocate, is "strongly considering" a run and would be a "serious candidate."

DISTRICT 4 (North/Central)

Gregorio Casar, Workers Defense Project political director, is "considering it very seriously" and "will make a decision over the holidays."

Jim Walker, urban planner and activist, has also been mentioned, but said he is not interested in a run at this time.

DISTRICT 5 (Central/South)

Jeff Jack, architect, city planning commissioner, and longtime City Hall activist, is "seriously considering" a run and reviewing both his personal circumstances and the political context.

Ann Kitchen, former Texas House member and Liveable City leader, is "definitely running" and "hoping to represent the whole district that might not feel fully represented now."

Fred Cantu, Democratic activist, could not be confirmed at press time, but is reportedly considering a run.

DISTRICT 6 (Northwest/West)

Jimmy Flannigan, Web business owner and Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce president, is "seriously considering" a run but hasn't certainly decided yet.

Matt Stillwell, small business owner and former state House candidate, "will run."

Jay Wiley, former George W. Bush and Phil Gramm aide, and former Federalist Society president, already has a campaign website (, and a no tax, no spend, no bag-ban platform.

DISTRICT 7 (North/Central)

Jeb Boyt, mass transit and parks advocate, is "definitely" planning to run.

Ben Leffler, public policy professional and former city auditor/investigator, is "considering" a run, but has made no decision yet.

DISTRICT 8 (South/Southwest)

Rebecca Bray, Brown & Gay Engineers senior project manager and Real Estate Council of Austin board member, did not respond to queries, but is reportedly considering a run.

Eliza May, longtime civic activist, is "very seriously considering" a run and "exploring the political landscape" toward reaching a decision soon.

Darrell Pierce, former Council candidate and management consultant/business owner, is "close to a decision" to make another run.

Ed Scruggs, civic activist (most recently on local gun control issues), is "carefully considering a run" and expects his early decision process to "come into focus after the new year."

DISTRICT 9 (Central)

Chris Riley, Place 1 Council incumbent, "doesn't expect to make a formal decision until spring" but is "very excited by the prospect" of a district campaign marked by "knocking on neighborhood doors."

Kathie Tovo, Place 3 Council incumbent, is "seriously considering" another run and "expects to make a decision in the next couple of weeks."

DISTRICT 10 (West/Northwest)

Marjorie Burciaga, small business owner and community volunteer, is "seriously considering" a run and is in the exploratory stages of assembling a potential campaign.

Tina Cannon, former Place 5 candidate and educator/entrepreneur, already has a Facebook page – "Elect Tina Cannon" – and has been "encouraged by the support" she's receiving in the new District 10.

Mandy Dealey, former Place 3 candidate and long-serving commissioner-of-all-trades is being "encouraged" to run and is "considering" it, but says it's "not likely" at this time.

Jason Meeker, former Place 1 candidate and current Zoning and Platting Commis­sion­er, says he's not ready to make an announcement, but is "considering" a run.

Robert Thomas, management consultant and Republican, ran against state Rep. Donna Howard in HD 48 in 2012; on his campaign Facebook page, he recently posted: "To be clear, we are VERY seriously inclined to run to represent our home area on the city council."

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