Jun 23, 2022 - News

Austin council candidates start their runs for office

José Noé Elias.

Austin city council candidate José Noé Elias. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Austin City Council candidates are starting to knock on doors and raise money.

Why it matters: In heat like this it's hard to think about November, but newly shifted Austin City Council district lines mean that candidates eager to introduce themselves are getting sweaty.

Catch up quick: The lines of East Austin-dominant District 3 have been redrawn to include a portion of Bouldin that were previously in District 9, which is represented by Kathie Tovo.

  • District 3 incumbent Pio Renteria is vacating the seat after the maximum two terms (though he could have gathered enough petition signatures to qualify for a third term).
  • Tovo, meanwhile, has said she will run for mayor.
  • The District 3 open seat now has at least five candidates, including Elias, seeking to replace Renteria.

What they're saying: "Community — especially families' voices — are not heard at City Council." That's how Elias, who grew up in Montopolis, explained his decision to run. "We're ignored, older folks are being displaced, a lot of our working families are not able to afford a home."

The intrigue: Elias' campaign treasurer is Susana Almanza, a pioneering environmental activist, who ran twice — and lost both times — to Renteria, her own brother.

  • Renteria, meanwhile, has endorsed one of Elias' opponents, José Velásquez, who also has the support of top county officials as well as a host of small business owners.

How it works: There is no primary for the non-partisan City Council races — but there will be a runoff after the November election if no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote.

Zoom out: At least three other City Council seat races, including Tovo's District 9, which much of downtown, are shaping up as competitive, per reporting by the Austin Monitor.


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