The Austin Chronicle

The Road to 10-1: Now We Begin

How to fit six dozen candidates into a one-pound newspaper

By Brandon Watson, July 18, 2014, News

District 6: Partisan Traffic Jam

If the new 10-1 Council will have a conservative seat, this is the most likely venue. In 2012, the future District 6 boxes preferred Mitt Romney to Barack Obama – the only district to do so. Although Council races are officially nonpartisan, the declared candidates can readily be sorted into red and blue camps. Like the district itself, they are evenly divided.

On the Republican side, Jay Wiley would seem to be the default favorite. His GOP bona fides include stints serving as an aide to President George W. Bush and Sen. Phil Gramm, serving as a precinct chair with the Travis County Republican Party, and running nationwide campaigns. But there are murmurs that the GOP establishment is pinning its Council hopes on new blood; counterterrorism consultant Pete Phillips Jr., with experience in federal GOP offices, could prove to be the perfect tabula rasa.

Centrist Matt Stillwell starts with a lead in Democratic name ID. He owns a namesake insurance company, serves on three Round Rock ISD commissions, is active in the Williamson County Democratic Party, and ran a 2012 campaign for state House District 136. Small business owner and former Aus­tin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Com­merce President Jimmy Flannigan intends to close the gap by pounding the pavement.

And pavement might well be the deciding factor in District 6. Easing the daily traffic clogging the district's main thoroughfares is at the top of all the candidates' to-do lists. Regardless of party affiliation, the person with the most convincing solution to the jam could be looking at a new commute – to City Hall.

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