Austin Election Ticker: The Endorsements Begin

Delia Garza's Twitter tangle, Central Labor Council likes, and more


Delia Garza (on right) (Photo by John Anderson)

Sparks Flying

Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, campaigning for Travis County Attorney, may be painfully learning the difference between a single-district City Council campaign and a countywide donnybrook. First, former county judge and campaign attack dog Bill Aleshire made hyperbolic swipes (likely to continue) at her credentials and character, and this week she sparked a brief Twitter war after criminal justice reformer Chris Harris (personally, not on behalf of his group Just Liberty) endorsed defense attorney Dominic Selvera in the C.A. race. Garza reacted sharply, tweeting, "Thanks Chris. I guess a dude supporting IDEAS resonates more than a woman who actually has a record of taking the hits and having an actual record of implementing actual progressive policy. [Fist emoji] Got it." Harris was almost apologetic, reiterating that he respects Garza and hopes to continue working with her – but it's not a major surprise he would tilt to long-shot Selvera, who checks all the current CJ reform boxes, including decriminalization of all drug use (admittedly aspirational). Garza got some sharp backlash for her sarcastic response, and she'll likely need a thicker skin to make it through endorsement season...

Be-Laboring Choices

One by one, endorsements can raise momentary hackles, headlines, and move a few voters here and there, but this week the various Democratic (and related) group and club endorsements have begun to accumulate – more are scheduled throughout January – and trends will become as important as individual candidate name checks. As the Ticker compiles the verdicts of the various clubs and orgs, a few seem worth early note. The Austin Central Labor Council awarded its nods Jan. 11. A CLC endorsement requires the support of 2/3 of the union locals represented at the consideration session, and no candidate reached that threshold in three major Travis County criminal justice races: District Attorney, County Attorney, and County Court at Law No. 4. This suggests those hotly contested campaigns – all of which may go to run-off – are only just getting started. The CLC did give its support to Valinda Bolton (County Commissioner Precinct 3), Sally Hernandez (Sheriff), David Wahlberg (167th District Court), Mike Siegel (Con­gressional District 10), Heidi Sloan (CD 25), and David Jara­mil­lo (CD 17). The latter two are a little surprising – those races feature returning 2018 Democratic nominees Julie Oliver and Rick Kennedy – and might suggest growing influence among Austin's labor groups of the Democratic Socialists of America. (Full list available on Facebook, "Austin Central Labor Council")...

Stonewalling

Oliver won the endorsement of the Stonewall Dem­ocrats after a marathon (71-candidate) session at the Carver Museum last week. The Stonewalls also gave their nod to Bolton, Hernandez, Wahl­berg, Laurie Eiser­loh (County Attorney), Amy Clark Meachum (Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court), and Darlene Byrne (Chief Justice, Texas 3rd Court of Appeals). Although several U.S. Senate candidates appeared or sent representatives, there was insufficient consensus (requiring a 60% threshold) in that race or others. (Full list available on Facebook, "Stonewall Democrats of Austin")...

State Tejanos, et al.

The State Tejano Democrats interviewed statewide candidates last week, generating a handful of endorsements: Joe Biden (President), Royce West (U.S. Senate), Roberto Alonzo (Rail­road Commissioner), and several judicial candidates. Circle C Area Demo­crats continue to meet candidates and consider endorsements, with a few choices already made: Amy Meredith (460th District Court), Kennon Wooten (53rd District Court), and Erin Martinson (D.A.), along with Bolton and Wahlberg. And the West Austin Democrats agreed on a handful of endorsements, including Byrne, Eiserloh, Hernandez, and Dimple Malhotra (CCL4). WAD meets again in February for additional decisions. Again, all these groups' endorsements can be found on Facebook...

Candidate Solidarity

TX-25 candidate Sloan also made news this week for dismal reasons – an assault by masked ultra-left thugs after her Sunday canvass event (see "Congressional Candidate Attacked by 'Revolutionary' Bullies"). Her Democratic opponent Oliver issued a statement in support of Sloan – and reported she had been subjected to similar harassment during her 2018 campaign. "I'm extremely upset to hear that Heidi Sloan was assaulted by a destructive group whose aim is suppressing turnout in Black and working-class communities," wrote Oliver. "She should be treated with respect, and I want her team to know we're united against those seeking to intimidate, harass, and prevent progress. ... This group tried to intimidate our campaign for organizing in East Austin in 2018. We will not stand for it. We're expressing our solidarity with the Sloan team for working to expand our democracy, and we're united in our commitment to bringing everyone into this process."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

elections, March 2020 Primary, November 2020 Election, Delia Garza, Dominic Selvera, Chris Harris, Bill Aleshire, Central Labor Council, Valinda Bolton, Sally Hernandez, David Wahlberg, Mike Siegel, Heidi Sloan, David Jaramillo, Democratic Socialists of America, Julie Oliver, Rick Kennedy, Stonewall Democrats, Laurie Eiserloh, Amy Clark Meachum

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