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Challengers pressure Leffingwell on political future

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 by Austin Monitor

Place 1 City Council challengers Jason Meeker and Allen Demling ganged up on incumbent Council Member Lee Leffingwell Monday, putting out serial press releases about the possibility that Leffingwell will decide to resign early to run for Mayor in 2009.


Leffingwell has said in the past that he would consider running for Mayor when Will Wynn retires next year. Council Member Brewster McCracken has made no secret of his mayoral ambitions either. But his term ends at the same time as Wynn’s.


Meeker’s press release says a special election would cost between $750,000 and $1 million and he calls on Leffingwell to withdraw from the re-election race if he intends to run for mayor next year.


However, if a Council Member were to resign to run for another office, there would be no need for a special election if an election were already scheduled within 120 days.


Leffingwell responded, “Under no circumstances would I take any action that would trigger a special election and cost taxpayers money.”


Asked whether he was considering running for Mayor, Leffingwell said, ” I’m running for re-election. And as all of us who’ve been around this place for any period of time know, six months in politics is a lifetime. And the year is an eternity. “


“Nobody can say ‘I’m running for mayor next year,’ especially when I’ve got to run for re-election right now,” he said. “If I lost the election, I certainly wouldn’t be a candidate for Mayor. Or even if I just barely scraped by, I probably wouldn’t be a viable candidate. A lot of things would have to happen. It’s just crazy to say I’m going to be candidate for next year after I win this election.”


Demling, the least known of the Place 1 candidates, asked in his press release that Leffingwell “vow that he will fulfill his term,” if he wins re-election.

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