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Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano
Flannigan and Kelly to face off in December
District 6 is primed for a runoff between incumbent Jimmy Flannigan, who won just over 40 percent of the vote, and challenger Mackenzie Kelly, who earned just over 33 percent.
Unlike other City Council districts, a significant portion of the far northwest district is conservative, as its electoral history illustrates. So it’s unsurprising that Flannigan, who has been an outspoken advocate for liberal causes like reimagining public safety, drew a few opponents this time around. He’ll face off against his most conservative challenger in December.
“District 6 is very familiar with the choice before them in December. We do not want to go back to the days of my predecessor where we were the laughingstock of this region, and the city. And that is exactly what my opponent represents,” Flannigan said, referencing former Council Member Don Zimmerman.
“I am confident that this district is not interested in moving backwards. We want to move forwards. It’s proven by the district’s support of Prop A and Prop B. This is a district ready to take on the future, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “District 6 has always been a place of very diverse perspectives and beliefs. It’s been a real honor representing District 6 for the last four years and I believe that I have earned the trust and faith of this community to get four more years.”
This is Kelly’s second time running for the District 6 office, and it will be her first runoff. During the campaign she made a concerted effort to get the word out that she was aligned with groups that have been intensely critical of City Council’s handling of homelessness in the city and reallocation of police funding.
Kelly told the Austin Monitor she had expected to be in the runoff and will continue her platform focusing on public safety and determining the root causes of homelessness instead of “spending millions of dollars buying up hotels.” She said she believed being homeless is not a criminal act, but “there are crimes that come out of desperation for those who are experiencing homelessness. We need to address it with compassion and care.”
“I believe this campaign will be victorious in the runoff. Our strategy is to keep doing what we did to get here,” she said.
“Jimmy Flannigan pretends to be a fiscally conservative voice of City Hall, but tonight’s results show that he’s part of the same group of radicals currently on the dais,” she continued. “District 6 was drawn as a conservative-leaning district during the 10-1 days and we’re taking back our turf.”
Kelly also took issue with Flannigan’s remark calling her “Don Zimmerman, Part II.” She told the Monitor, “That’s absolutely incorrect. I am Mackenzie Kelly, Part I.”
In contrast to the liberal vs. conservative tone found in other District 6 races, Dr. Jennifer Mushtaler, an OB-GYN, ran on a platform that emphasized her medical background in relation to the pandemic response. Spurred into running for office by a zoning case in her neighborhood, she won 19.11 percent of the vote on Tuesday.
Dee Harrison, a retired employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, won just over 7 percent of the District 6 vote.
This story has been updated to include data from Williamson County. Photos via Facebook.
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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.
District 6: District 6 covers the far northwest parts of the city, including the Anderson Mill, River Place, Avery Ranch, Riata and Robinson Ranch neighborhoods. The area is bisected east to west by SH 45/RM 620 and north-south by US 183 and RM 2222. The southern end of the district hugs neighborhoods along Lake Austin and the south shore of Lake Travis.