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Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council endorsement dances have begun

Political season has truly begun, with groups large and small hosting candidate forums and making endorsements.

Last Friday, enough supporters of both incumbent District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria and his sister, Susana Almanza, came out to vote at the Austin Environmental Democrats meeting to force a dual endorsement of the pair. The group also easily endorsed District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen, but she has no opponent.

The group could not arrive at a consensus on a choice for District 1 in Northeast Austin or District 8 in Southwest Austin. However, for District 8, candidate Bobby Levinski got 52 percent of its vote and Rich DePalma got 37 percent of its vote. The group requires a candidate to receive 60 percent of the vote before it will endorse, but if two candidates get at least 40 percent of the vote, there is a dual endorsement.

Candidates for mayor and for District 9, the seat currently held by Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, have been invited to address the group and ask for their endorsement on Sept. 21. The environmental Democrats also endorsed two Williamson County candidates, KT Musselman for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and John Bucy for House District 136.

The Austin Central Labor Council has also announced its endorsements: Levinski, and Renteria, Kitchen, Tovo and Mayor Steve Adler for re-election. The group also endorsed the city of Austin’s $925 million bond package and urged its members to vote against propositions J, the proposition dealing with the Land Development Code rewrite, and K, the proposition calling for an audit of every single thing the city of Austin does.

Political action committees for police, fire and emergency medical service employees are also interviewing candidates and can be expected to announce their endorsements soon.

District 8 candidate Paige Ellis was getting ready for the endorsement meeting of the Circle C Area Democrats Monday afternoon, along with DePalma and Levinski. Voting is done by email so that group will not announce a decision for a couple of days.

The lone Republican running for a chance to follow Council Member Ellen Troxclair is Frank Ward. The Travis County GOP executive committee announced last month that it had voted unanimously to endorse Ward.

Other groups expected to endorse in various races include Black Austin Democrats, Tejano Democrats and Stonewall Democrats, in addition to South Austin Democrats, Northeast Travis County Democrats, West Austin Democrats, Central Austin Democrats as well as University Democrats, and perhaps a few we have forgotten.

Two other groups with a great interest in Austin elections are the political action committees for the Austin Board of Realtors and the Real Estate Council of Austin. They are likely to announce endorsements this month also.

Photo by John Flynn. 

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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