AUSTIN, Texas - Early voting begins December 1 in runoff elections in Austin.
There were several races here in Central Texas in which no candidate got more than 50% of the vote in November, including the race for Austin mayor, so now voters will be returning to the polls to pick their favorite candidates.
Early voting runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 9 and Election Day will be Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Here's a look at the races and candidates on the ballot:
City of Austin
Celia Israel and Kirk Watson emerged from the November race as the two candidates to face off the in the runoff. Israel was the top vote-getter with about 40% of the vote with Watson getting about 35%. Jennifer Virden finished in 3rd place with 18% of the vote. Below is a look at Israel and Watson.
Celia Israel came to Austin in 1982 at the age of 17. In a post on her website, Israel writes:
"I was a young, gay Latina stepping out into the world for the very first time. I graduated from the University of Texas, served in the Ann Richards administration, met the love of my life, became a realtor, and later, a member of the Texas House of Representatives."
"This city forged me into who I am today. I find energy in Austin and power in its people. Diversity is our strength. We share ideas and fight injustice through our activism. We are always ready to lend a hand to our neighbors in need. Our city vibrates with opportunity and excitement as each one of us blazes our own path."
"That path feels increasingly out of reach for the people who make Austin unique. Our city deserves a mayor who works for the people who live here and who build the city around us: our teachers, construction workers, students, public service workers, artists, musicians, technologists, developers, and so many more.
"We can’t be a city that attracts billionaires while simultaneously pushing working people to Bastrop and Buda. We need a city that invests in the people who live and work here."
"We have this opportunity to break up the status quo and accomplish our shared vision for this great city. We can make housing more affordable, so the people who drive our economy can put down roots in the community they serve. We can make our community safer and healthier by strengthening our safety nets and investing in our people. We can make it easier to get around town by building a world-class public transportation system."
Kirk Watson is looking to return to the position that he held when he was elected Mayor of Austin as a 40-year-old.
Accomplishments Watson lists on his website during his first stint as mayor include launching the SMART Housing program, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and passing an unprecedented bond measure to safeguard thousands of environmentally sensitive acres of land, expand Austin’s greenbelts, and protect treasures like Barton Springs.
He lists housing, affordability, and transportation as the main issues on his website. Watson says he's "running for mayor this year to ensure that the city — effectively and equitably — addresses the range of issues that will define our future."
Watson graduated from Baylor University and ranked first in his law school class at Baylor Law School.
Kirk and his wife, Liz, have been married for 42 years. They have two adult children, Preston and Cooper. Both attended Austin public schools. Preston and his wife, Catherine, have two little girls–Effie, who is 4 years old, and Birdie, who is almost 1.
Austin City Council
Council members in five districts were up for election in November but only two were decided. Incumbents Natasha Harper-Madison and Paige Ellis, representing District 1 and District 3 respectively, won but the other three districts, whose council members were unable to run due to term limits, resulted in runoffs. Below is a look at the candidates.
City Council, District 3
City Council, District 5
City Council, District 9
Early voting ends on Friday, December 9, 2022. Times to early vote are 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday times are 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
For more information visit the Travis County elections website.
The City of Kyle also had one race in which none of the candidates got 50% of the vote. District 1 for Kyle City Council had six candidates running. The top two, Amanda Stark and Bear Heiser, received about 29% and about 21% of the vote respectively.
Here's a look at the candidates:
City Council, District 1
Registered Kyle voters can cast ballots during early voting at Kyle City Hall, located at 100 W. Center St., in the Minerva Falcon Room, at the following times:
- Dec. 1 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Dec. 2 from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.
- Dec. 3 from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
- Dec. 5-8 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Dec. 9 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information visit the Kyle elections website.