Election Ticker: The Ups and Downs of Watson's Ad and More

Look at the first ad of the mayoral campaign and more

Thumbs down: Kirk Watson's mayoral campaign has hit the airwaves with a 30-second ad that aired on cable stations this week. The ad is pretty boring and borderline cringe, with the kind of cornball machismo you might expect from a 65-year-old white man with a ton of campaign cash and institutional support and no real need for an ad to go viral. (Zoomers would tear this apart on TikTok). Straddling a Harley, Watson rides through the city while reminding viewers that he's the candidate who can get things done, including "leading on climate." He also cites a local record of advocacy on "racial justice, abortion rights, and LGBTQ equality" before looking into the camera and telling viewers he "loves this city and it's time to get things done again." – Austin Sanders

Thumbs up: As a zoomer, I like this ad because it gives major dad energy. Watson really put himself out there on that Harley knowing it would be corny and totally owning it; since he can't unwhite or un-65 himself, I think a Guy Fieri video vibe seems totally appropriate and pretty endearing. Did he shock me with a visionary plan? No, but he did point to some pretty cool stuff he did when I was in middle school (including his supporting role in the Wendy Davis filibuster in 2013, though I'd like to see his reproductive rights plan, since Celia Israel has laid out a very detailed set of policy priorities). – Maggie Q. Thompson

The Rest of the Ticker

Fender Bender Actually Toppled a Truck: Last week, we reported that Hays County Commissioner Walt Smith, the Dripping Springs-area Republican running for reelection in November, got a DWI in 2021 after he ran a red light and hit a box truck on Lake Austin Boulevard. But a newly obtained crash report reveals that Smith's Dodge Ram smashed into the truck and flipped it on its side. The report says the box truck driver "was able to escape through the passenger door after being rolled over" and that Smith "was unsure of what occurred" and was "arrested for driving while intoxicated." Smith had declared last month, "This matter has been fairly concluded and my innocence confirmed."

Forthcoming Forums: The Downtown Austin Alliance and Downtown Austin Neigh­borhood Association will host a candidate forum with mayoral candidates Celia Israel and Kirk Watson on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5:30pm at St. David's Episcopal Church on 301 E. Eighth. Immediately after, attendees will hear from candidates in the toss-up District 9 race to replace longstanding CM Kathie Tovo.

Last Chance to Register: If you haven't registered to vote yet and want to vote in the Nov. 8 general election, next Tuesday, Oct. 11, will be your last chance. To avoid anxiety over slow mail, you can register in person at any Travis County Tax Office. Find everything you need to know about the election, registering, and voting at austinchronicle.com/elections.

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Kirk Watson, Walt Smith, Leander ISD, November 2022 Elections

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