Austin City Council elections are still some nine months out – but the races are already heating up.
Today saw one of 2014’s first official announcements for mayor: Patsy Woods Martin, a former executive with the United Way for Greater Austin, and founder of umbrella charity organization I Live Here, I Give Here. (Disclaimer: Martin also launched online giving campaign Amplify Austin, which KUT participated in last year.)
Martin is the latest in an increasingly crowded field of official and unofficial candidates. The Austin Chronicle has a comprehensive rundown of candidates. Martin is joined officially by Bill McLellan, whom the Chronicle describes as a “former 3M executive, chief development officer at Family Eldercare, and longtime civic activist.”
Martin and McLellan are unofficially joined by a handful of other unofficial candidates, including three current city council members: Sheryl Cole, Mike Martinez and Laura Morrison. All three are rumored to be considering a run, but currently serving in a separate capacity, they can’t declare just yet.
Why are the 2014 elections so wide open? Austin’s switch to single-member districts has disrupted the status quo at City Hall, increasing the number of seats from seven to 11. And the switch from citywide to geographic council seats (plus council term limits) means only a handful of current council members will remain on the dais next year.
Austin’s municipal election is set for Nov. 4. The first day to file for a place on the ballot is July 19.