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Thursday, January 16, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano
City Council candidates tally their six-week fundraising totals
This November, candidates will compete for City Council seats in Districts 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10. Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza has already announced that she will not be seeking reelection in District 2; instead she is running for Travis County attorney in an already heated race. As for the City Council races, they have not yet quite begun, with candidates announcing their six-week funding totals on Wednesday.
As we reported earlier in the week, District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool was the first to submit her report, recording contributions of $10,985 and a loan of $52,500 to her campaign in July. As Jo Clifton reported, “Pool’s contributors include fellow Council Member Ann Kitchen and a number of neighborhood advocates, including Linda Bailey, and David King, Ann Denkler and Don Leighton-Burwell, who serve on the city’s land use commissions. Attorney and frequent Council critic Fred Lewis and his wife Dawn also contributed, as did Ellen Jefferson, executive director of Austin Pets Alive!”
Council Member Alison Alter, who is seeking reelection in District 10, also submitted her report early. Alter raised a whopping $61,665 in the first six weeks of her campaign. Her contributions came from donors that include Capital Factory founder Joshua Baer, Council members Kathie Tovo and Ann Kitchen, Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea, former Travis County Auditor Susan Spataro, attorney/agitator Fred Lewis, activist Brian Rodgers, District 7 staffers Amy Smith and Louisa Brinsmade, PR consultant Elizabeth Christian, Hill Country Conservancy CEO George Cofer, 1-800-Contacts founder Jonathan Coon, former Austin Neighborhoods Council President Mary Ingle (who lists her employer as Save Our City Austin Inc.), Austin Sierra Club’s Roy Waley, Shoal Creek Conservancy’s former Board President Ted Siff, C3’s Charlie Jones, philanthropist Tom Meredith, and a whole host of former and current Planning commissioners, including Mandy Dealey, Ann Denkler, Jim Duncan, Betsy Greenberg, Jolene Kiolbassa and Patricia Seeger.
Pooja Sethi, who is running against Alter, reported that she has raised $15,575 so far, with an additional $5,000 loan to her own campaign. Sethi told the Austin Monitor that all of that money remains on hand, and an initial filing had been corrected to reflect that fact. Among those who have contributed to her campaign are Planning commissioners Conor Kenny and Greg Anderson, Friends of Austin Neighborhoods founding member Pete Gilcrease, music advocate and City Hall regular Jennifer Houlihan, former Cedar Park City Council candidate Shellie Hayes-McMahon, civic enthusiast Nancy Neavel, former City Council candidates Jeb Boyt and Danielle Skidmore, and former Planning Commissioner Jose “Chito” Vela.
District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan reported $13,009 in total political contributions, with $10,248.88 in cash on hand and $4,695 in outstanding loans. Contributors to Flannigan’s campaign include Planning Commissioner Greg Anderson, 1-800-Contacts founder Jonathan Coon, public policy advocate Jay Crossley, Ed Espinoza of Progress Texas, Former Council Member Randi Shade, the Sheryl Cole campaign, and FourT Realty’s Tom Terkel.
In District 2, David Chincanchan, who has served as Council Member Pio Renteria’s chief of staff for the past five years, reported a fundraising total of $20,967.53, with $12,105 remaining in campaign coffers. Those who have contributed to his campaign include staffers from the mayor’s office, District 3, District 4, District 5, District 7, District 8, District 9 and District 10, Council Member Ann Kitchen, consultant Mark Littlefield, Travis County constables Stacy Suits and George Morales, Trail of Lights Foundation Executive Director James Russell, the Sabino Pio Renteria campaign, Shoal Creek Conservancy Board President former Ted Siff, BikeTexas manager Robin Stallings, multi-commission member Dave Sullivan, Public Citizen’s Kaiba White, consultant Jim Wick, consultant Jed Buie, land use agent Michele Haussmann, District 2 resident Stuart Hersh, City Hall regular Jennifer Houlihan, Planning commissioners Conor Kenny and Greg Anderson, former City Council candidate Jeb Boyt, Hill Country Conservancy CEO George Cofer, 1-800-Contacts founder Jonathan Coon, public policy advocate Jay Crossley, and Austin Housing Authority CEO Michael Gerber.
Meanwhile, District 4 Council Member Greg Casar has not yet started campaigning. He told the Monitor that he would start raising money later this month.
Thus far, the only declared opponent to a sitting Council member is Sethi in District 10, although filing for Council races does not officially start until July 18 and the filing deadline is Aug. 17.
This story has been changed since publication to reflect Ted Siff’s current role. 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.