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Virden loans campaign $300K

Friday, January 7, 2022 by Jo Clifton

Jennifer Virden, the only official candidate for Austin mayor so far, has loaned her campaign $300,000, as she reported in an official filing with the Office of the City Clerk earlier this week. She also has a total of $46,670.88 in contributions. But you would never guess that from the press release her campaign put out declaring that she had “raised” over $346,000 so far in her campaign. According to her campaign finance report, Virden loaned her campaign $300,000 on Dec. 20, 2021. Regular contributors are limited in what they can contribute, generally to $400 per person. Lobbyists are prohibited from giving City Council campaigns more than $25. James and Betty Skaggs, who regularly support Republican candidates, particularly those who want to build more roads, donated $400 each. Lobbyist Pete Winstead, on the other hand, contributed $25. Virden is not shy about proclaiming herself to be against much of what the current City Council has done. On her website, the real estate broker says she is opposed to the “transformational change” of society that current city leaders support. On the other hand, Virden supports “fully staffing our police department, compassionately triaging our homeless population, enforcing the ban on public camping, and enacting real property tax relief.” Austin has already granted homeowners a 20 percent homestead exemption, the maximum allowed by state law. Other possible candidates for mayor include Council Member Kathie Tovo, former Mayor Kirk Watson and state Rep. Celia Israel. Mayor Steve Adler has not announced his plans, but does not seem inclined to seek reelection and would need to collect signatures to do so. The election will be on Nov. 8, 2022.

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