Dec 2, 2022 - Politics

Voting begins in City Council runoff races

Illustration of Austin City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Voters in City Council Districts 3, 5 and 9 can now decide who represents them for the next four years.

Driving the news: Early voting started Thursday and runs through Dec. 9 in the runoff election for Austin mayor and three city council seats.

  • Election Day is Dec. 13.

Of note: All city council seats are nonpartisan, but the six candidates in the runoff races are Democrats.

District 3: José Velásquez and Daniela Silva are facing off to replace Sabino "Pio" Renteria in the district that encompasses East Austin and part of South Austin.

  • Velásquez, who nabbed 36% of the vote in November, owns a communications and marketing consulting firm and served as a board member for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Latinitas and founded Hermanos de East Austin and GRITO Austin.
  • Velásquez, who received endorsements from the Austin Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman, has said he wants to explore free pre-K public education and reduce red tape in the city's housing development process.
  • Silva, who garnered 34% of the vote in November, is a millennial activist who has volunteered with the Austin Justice Coalition, El Buen Samaritano and other nonprofits.
  • She has focused her campaign on access to health care and the environment, and said she wants to adopt a "housing first" policy to more easily connect people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing.

District 5: Stephanie Bazan and Ryan Alter are vying to replace council member Ann Kitchen in the South Austin district that stretches down Menchaca Road.

  • Bazan snagged 29% of the November vote compared to Alter's 24%.
  • Bazan, a communications professional, has focused her campaign on affordability, housing and homelessness, saying the city should increase the pace of building units for people experiencing homelessness and work to intervene sooner for those who are housing insecure.
  • Alter, a lawyer who worked as former mayor and state Sen. Kirk Watson's aide in the Legislature, has said the city should make 75% of rentals or new construction affordable for the majority of residents and provide legal representation for those facing eviction.

District 9: Zohaib Qadri and Linda Guerrero are battling to replace Council Member Kathie Tovo in the Central Austin district that includes Mueller, the University of Texas and Hyde Park.

  • Qadri earned 30% of the November vote and Guerrero followed with 22%.
  • Qadri, a self-described urbanist, has said the city should reform its zoning rules and invest in housing vouchers for low-income residents.
  • Guerrero, a teacher, has said she's concerned about the impact of Project Connect on local businesses and the environment and believes the city should purchase existing structures for affordable housing.

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