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The curious case of Jason Morales

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 by Austin Monitor

At first would-be candidate Jason Morales seemed intent on a run for Mayor. On Jan. 21, Morales designated fiancé Lee Zucker as his campaign treasurer. His website portrays him as a young successful businessman who had sold his company and retired, an accomplished athlete, “honored musician, and noted community leader all by the age of eighteen.” He is now 27.


Morales told In Fact Daily on Monday that he had $4 million in the bank and that he was running for the Place 1 seat being vacated by Lee Leffingwell. He filed for the position at 4:25pm Monday. However, the filing deadline for Place 1 was last Tuesday, March 3, because Leffingwell is vacating an unexpired term. Both Chris Riley and Perla Cavazos filed for the seat on time.


After Morales left the building, a member of the City Clerk’s staff called Morales to tell him the city could not accept his application for Place 1. According to City Clerk Shirley Gentry, Morales then raced back to City Hall to change his application form.


Gentry said a staff member gave Morales his form and he changed one space on the form. She said she did not know what place Morales had decided to file for, but Ian Davis, campaign manager for Bill Spelman said, “he told me he was going to cross out Place 1 and run for Place 6,” the seat held by Council Member Sheryl Cole. Cole is facing Sam Osemene in her bid for re-election.


Davis talked to Morales several times Monday afternoon because he had stationed himself in the clerk’s office to make sure that the campaign would not be caught flat-footed if anyone did decide to run against Spelman, a former Council Member. Spelman is unopposed on the May 9 ballot.


While Morales was returning to City Hall for the second time, Gentry said, an Assistant City Clerk called the Secretary of State’s Office to ask for advice. They told her that simply scratching out the place number on the form would not be appropriate and Morales would have to start over with a new form.


“He didn’t get back until 5:10pm. They were waiting for him right up to the last minute,” Gentry said. “We certainly hate it when something like this happens. By law we have up to 5 days to review the application…We try to review it as soon as they come in, but when you wait until 4:25 on the last day to file . . .”


Morales told In Fact Daily that he had decided not to run for Mayor, because he had decided there was a candidate in the race he could support.  Last night, Morales emailed Leffingwell that he had decided to support him for Mayor. Leffingwell faces Brewster McCracken and Carole Keeton Strayhorn as well as two unknown candidates, Josiah Ingalls, 28, a Hilton houseperson, and David Buttross, 39, real estate investor.

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