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Backers urge Leffingwell to run for Mayor – when he’s ready

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by Austin Monitor

A coalition of neighborhood leaders, environmentalists, and Democratic activists gathered at City Hall on Monday to show their support for Council Member Lee Leffingwell. The new political action committee, called Draft Lee Leffingwell,” will raise both money and awareness for the current Place 1 Council Member in case he decides to run for Mayor next year.


“I know what the job of Mayor requires, and I’m very confident that Lee Leffingwell is the right person to take on that job at this critical time in Austin,” said former Mayor Gus Garcia. “He’s strong on the environment, he’s strong on public safety. He’s tested, mature and reliable.”


The testimony in support of Leffingwell, 69, focused on his experience, drawing a contrast with the comparative youth of Mayor Pro Tem Brewster McCracken, 42, who has officially started his mayoral campaign. “Lee is the real stuff. He’s from here,” said PAC co-chair Joe Pinnelli. “He’s got life experience that others don’t have that make him really tough…that gives him a true grit that we are really going to need in this economic time.”


Several other speakers also pointed to the economic downturn as a reason that the city could benefit from Leffingwell’s experience. “During the kind of economic times we’re going through now, we need someone with a steady hand and someone who gives things thorough consideration,” said Jack Kirfman with AFSCME. “The best candidate for that would be Lee Leffingwell.”


The group has also set up a web site at to list supporters of Leffingwell. “The people who are very committed to Lee can sign up so no one needs to ask them who they’re for,” said co-chair Joe Pinnelli. The PAC can raise money for independent advertising in next year’s mayoral race. However, the group cannot coordinate its activities with that candidate.


Leaders of the political action committee on Monday declined to set out any examples of where Leffingwell differed with McCracken or other possible candidates on major policy issues. “We’re not going to talk about that. There will be plenty of time to talk about it during the campaign,” said former Garcia. “We’re here supporting Lee because we like the way he does things.”

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