Kelly defeats Flannigan for district six seat, what it means for council

Incumbent Alison Alter beat challenger Jennifer Virden for the district ten seat. However, Mackenzie Kelly will unseat council member Jimmy Flannigan in the district six seat after winning a highly contested runoff election.

"Throughout the campaign, there are things that we did that I feel made a difference. Having a strong message against what the current council person was trying to provide to the district and to the city. Also going out and meeting voters," said Kelly.

Kelly is a native Austinite, who says she will work to make some changes at city hall. "I did not want to see the Austin Police Department defunded and everyone I spoke with throughout the district felt the same way. Reinstating the police academy will be a top priority for me once I get into office," said Kelly.


The council majority consists of progressive members, except for Kelly who is conservative. But this seat is prone to flip.

"We've seen Flannigan's seat go from a very conservative member to Flannigan, then back to somebody who is a little more conservative. Other seats have been staying more to the left," said Brian Smith, professor of political science at St. Edward’s University.

Smith believes Kelly's victory is sending a message about what the district's voters truly may want. "I think the district six race really shows us that local issues do trump the nationalization of politics. The Flannigan campaign tried to make it more about what was going on at the national level, and Donald Trump, but voters in that district cared more about local issues," said Smith.

Smith believes if Kelly wants to get anything done, her best bet will be to form alliances.

"I think there is some common interest shared across districts especially the ones that are further out from the downtown core. I think there is a lot of room for her to vote with council and I think there is a lot of opportunities for her to say let's take a look at this from another perspective, but she is going to lose a lot more than she's going to win. If she knows that going in, I think she'll be a very effective council member," said Smith.