The maps are final, the candidate names are starting to circulate, and
candidates can begin raising money on May 8, 2014.
That means it's time to start talking about the 2014 Austin City Council
With a potential 600% increase in voter turnout from the prior May elections
on the way, hold on to the nearest hipster's handle-bar mustache, because
Austin's municipal electorate is in for a wild ride.
Or maybe not. It's still too soon to tell as candidates wait to announce --
and obviously who files for what and how many who's and where will certainly
have a major impact on shaping this election cycle -- but there are some things
we do know based just on the structural changes and constraining factors of
Austin City Council elections.
Below the jump, join me for some prognostication about fundraising, outside
money, endorsements, changes to the electorate, and what happens after 2014
spoiler alert: that's when it could get really interesting.
At Least Nine New Faces On The Dais
First off, most of the current City Council won't be back, and that's not
just because they mostly live in the same district. Of the 7 of them, Sheryl
Cole, Laura Morrison, Chris Riley, Bill Spelman and Kathie Tovo live in District
9. Lee Leffingwell is in District 10 and Mike Martinez is in District 1.
Mayor Leffingwell is term-limited out and is not running again. Cole,
Martinez, Morrison, and Spelman are all term-limited out from running for a
district seat, but each can run for Mayor, as it's considered a different
office. Council Members Chris Riley and Kathie Tovo can both run again, and --
as noted above -- have been drawn into the same district.
So regardless, even if any of the termed-out members run for Mayor, that
means at most, two current council members could return in some form next year.
Or they could all run and lose, or not run at all, or be beaten by one of the
many past candidates who garnered less than 15% in a previous election, though I find that last scenario as likely as Ted Cruz being elected as Prime Minister of Canada. (Though he's still eligible!)
With 10 districts and one at-large mayor, we'll be looking at at least nine
new faces come 2015, maybe more.