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Who Are These 14 People Running for City Council?

A detail from one of several City Council filings. A total of 14 names will appear on the May municipal ballot.
Image courtesy
A detail from one of several City Council filings. A total of 14 names will appear on the May municipal ballot.

That title is slightly more than a rhetorical question, since the filing for City Council candidacies – closed yesterday at 5 p.m. – features more than a few political unknowns. That’s particularly true in Place 5, where six candidates have filed to run against incumbent Bill Spelman.  Here's our rundown of the known and unknown candidates:


No major surprises here. Incumbent Mayor S. Lee Leffingwell (the "S" stands for Shelley) has made his re-election intentions clear for months, while former council member Brigid Shea has been steadily campaigning since she declared last month. Challenger Clay Dafoe is also familiar to council watchers as an outspoken gadfly at council meetings. He's known for haranguing the City Council when they meet; a representative example canbe seen here

Council Member Place 2:

No surprises here, either, as the Place 2 match between incumbent Mike Martinez and challenger Laura Pressley has been widely discussed. Pressley had announced her intention to run months ago, but settled on running in Place 5 in later January. As we reported at the time, “Pressley operates a bottled rainwater company, Pure Rain, and is a staunch opponent of the city’s fluoridation policies.” She has also been recently seen speaking at council meetings, arguing to spend more of the city’s purchasing budget on contracts with local companies.

Martinez, the familiar incumbent, is running for a third term on the council.  

Council Member Place 5:

  • Audrey “Tina” Cannon (Website)
  • Dominic M. Chavez (Website)
  • David Yepez Conley
  • John Duffy (Website)
  • Robert A. “Bo” Prudente
  • John A. Rubine
  • William “Bill” Spelman (Website)

Considering council member Bill Spelman went unchallenged in 2009, is the thick field in Place 5 some sort of karmic debt? Of all the candidates in Place 5, Tina Cannon and Dominic Chavez seem the most campaign-ready. Cannon has a history in web start-ups, having co-founded a veterinary health site, Chavez has partaken in city politics before; as previously reported, Chavez was party to a lawsuit seeking stricter criteria for historic designations on homes, and opposed the transportation bond package sent to voters in 2010. John Duffy is also online; on his website, he touts himself as the “anarchist candidate,” quoting Henry David Thoreau as stating, “that government is best which governs least.”

As of this writing, we have no information yet for David Yepez Conley, Robert A. “Bo” Prudente, or John A. Rubin.

Bill Spelman is running for his second consecutive term on the council; he previously served as a council member in 1997.

Council Member Place 6:

  • Sheryl Cole (Website)
  • Shaun D. Ireland

We can’t find anything online regarding Shaun D. Ireland, the sole challenger for Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole in Place 6, but will update when we do. Cole is running for her third term on the council. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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