A Snapshot of Who's Running for Austin City Council
The deadline for council candidates to place their names on the November ballot came and went today. Here’s a list of who’s running in the five districts where seats are up for election (incumbents are indicated as such):
As a co-founder of Open Austin, Faulkner’s campaign rests on government transparency, diverse housing options and a more inclusive tech scene. It’s also unclear how he’ll match Garza financially in this race. Per last campaign filing, Faulkner had raised $420.
Delia Garza (incumbent)
As the current representative for District 2, Delia Garza is often a voice for lower-income Austinites. (Median family income for the area she represents is $42,650). Garza took the lead on Pilot Knob, the affordable housing deal that drew some ire from fellow council members when the city’s plan for funding it became clear after an initial vote. The former firefighter recently brought forward a measure to protect low-income folks from being jailed for failing to pay fines.
Garza had raised $25,162 as of the end of June.
A latecomer to the field, Comancho is a 53-year-old engineer and 20-year Austin resident. Since he filed after the deadline for the candidates' first finance report, there's no word on how much he's raised so far.
Greg Casar (incumbent)
In his role as the current council member for District 4, Casar has continued his work on behalf of low-income residents (the youngest council member previously worked for the Workers Defense Project). Recently, Casar ushered through council a fair chance hiring ordinance.
At the last (and first of the season) campaign filing, Casar led the money race, having raised $79,437.
Louis Herrin III
Environmental engineer Louis Herrin III will take a second stab at beating Casar. (He lost the race handily, when he garnered less than 3 percent of the vote). While this time the field is much smaller (the 2014 race for District 4 included 8 candidates), Herrin will likely have to raise more than the $0 in contributions he filed in July.
Zimmerman’s 2014 opponent will take another shot at the District 6 race. (Flannigan lost to Zimmerman in a runoff by less than 3 percentage points). As co-founder of the Northwest Austin Coalition and former leader of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Flannigan is no stranger to the city’s civic side.
Flannigan’s funding topped his opponent's, at $46,951.54 as of the end of June.
Don Zimmerman (incumbent)
A constant voice for fiscal conservatism, current council member Don Zimmerman recently drew some heat for comments he made to a group of young Latinos who came to a council meeting asking for after-school funding. Zimmerman recently led a push to approve a pilot program for constituents wanting to testify at council by videoconference.
Former teacher and city employee, Natalie Gauldin hopes to upset the incumbent by running on a platform of affordability (she says she'll represent renters in her district, in addition to homeowners) and more transportation options. At first filing, Gauldin had raised $20,460.
Leslie Pool (incumbent)
As the current District 7 representative, Leslie Pool’s big focus this year has been on overhauling the city’s lobbying laws. The former state and legislative employee had pulled together $32,415 for her campaign, by the end of June.
Alison Alter served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board before her opponent gave her the boot just last month. She currently advises philanthropists on how to spend their money, and has taught at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Like Virden, she has yet to file a campaign finance report.
Sheri Gallo (incumbent)
In her first year as city council member, Gallo has toed the line between speaking with the dais’s small conservative faction (made up of Council members Zimmerman and District 8's Ellen Troxclair) when large price tags come in front of the council, to supporting government regulations with the majority of the council (as she did with ride-hailing regulations). The former real estate agent boasted $44,434 at the first finance filing.
This 23 year-old recent University of Texas graduate told KUT he hopes to better scrutinize government spending than the incumbent and his opponents. Virden was born and raised in Austin and currently works at a real estate company. He signed up later in the game, so has yet to be required to file any finance reports.
Applying to be on the ballot at the eleventh hour, 14-year Austin resident and accountant Walker joins the race. He, like Alter and Virden, filed after a required campaign finance deadline – so no news on how much money he has raised.