District 2 Race Gathers Steam as Delia Garza Decides Not to Seek Reelection
David Chincanchan has already kicked off his campaign, Vanessa Fuentes considering
Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza announced she will not seek reelection to her District 2 City Council seat in 2020, further fueling rumors that she'll soon announce a run for Travis County Attorney to replace the retiring David Escamilla. In a statement, Garza said she's announcing her departure from Council a year before the November election to give other candidates time to jump into the race; she told the Chronicle she's "still exploring" a C.A. run and would make a decision "in the coming weeks." The clock is ticking, with former judge Mike Denton, Escamilla's Assistant C.A. Laurie Eiserloh, and attorney Dominic Selvera already campaigning for the office. Garza is hampered by the state's "resign-to-run" law, under which she must wait until at least Dec. 6 to announce her campaign, lest she automatically vacate her council seat and prompt a special election. Filing for the County Attorney's race ends Dec. 9.
Technically, filing to run to replace Garza doesn't happen until next summer, but David Chincanchan, chief of staff to D3 CM Pio Renteria, has already turned in paperwork to kick off his campaign. Chincanchan is a young progressive with a deep history in Southeast Austin, is well-connected in local Democratic circles, and is highly respected at City Hall for his political skills (most notably in the successful 2016 Mobility Bond campaign) and his knack for policy detail. He told us he was interested in moving forward policies Garza has championed – with more housing and transit options in the district at the top of that list – but also in increasing economic opportunity through career training for young people and helping to grow small businesses through community lending. "I am of this community," Chincanchan told us, "and I've worked for this community, so it would be a huge privilege to serve them on City Council."
Another potential candidate, Vanessa Fuentes, told us this week she is still in "exploratory mode" but expects to make a decision soon. She works as an advocacy strategist for the American Heart Association, and has worked with Garza on improving access to healthy foods in the district. She was appointed to the city's Tourism Commission by Garza, serves on the board of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and recently helped pass a $284 million bond package in Del Valle ISD.