Conservative Challenger Mackenzie Kelly Defeats Liberal Incumbent in Austin City Council Run-Off

Austin City Council runoffs: Kelly takes District 6, Alter holds on to District 10

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — 
Austin's City Council District 6 will once again be represented by a conservative, after Mackenzie Kelly defeated incumbent Jimmy Flannigan with 52.2% of the vote, 7,875 to 7,198 in Tuesday’s Run-Off Election. Its Kelly’s second run for City Council, and her campaign focused on the themes that proved popular among voters in the west-Austin district: Law & Order, and reversing the city's recent liberal Homelessness Policies.

This time, Kelly (right,) benefited from some high profile and recent assistance: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's complaining about Austin's "Defund the Police" efforts, which City Council members have tried to label as "Police Reform," as well as the growing and visible homelessness problem.

The Fight For Austin PAC, which has been trying recently to elect conservatives to local Austin offices, said in a statement,
“Tuesday's results were a resounding rejection of the city’s direction.

"Mackenzie ran on restoring public safety for our city, while her opponent defended the homeless camping disaster and the reckless $150 million police budget cut."

"Austin residents sent a clear message tonight: Stop the insanity. Restore public safety."

Kelly ran on a campaign of restoring funding to the Austin Police Department budget, and reinstating the city's recently eliminated ban against homeless camping, panhandling and lying down in public.

It’s unlikely she’ll find enough, if any, allies to help her make these changes, though.

In the latest move toward the city's nationally-recognized effort to "Defund the Police," the 11-member council voted unanimously over the summer to cut millions from the police budget.
"From standing courageously behind our law enforcement community, to demanding safer conditions for our homeless population, to fighting for transparency at City Hall, the voice of Northwest Austin has been heard," said Kelly.

"Considering the stark differences between my campaign's priorities and the platform of the incumbent, their united voice was resoundingly clear this election."

While Tuesday's Austin City Council runoffs ended up with one incumbent losing his bid for re-election, another held on to her seat.

In the District 10 race, incumbent Alison Alter held on to her seat in another close race with 51.2% of the vote – separated by just 587 votes – over challenger Jennifer Virden. While Virden held a lead in early in-person voting, Alter held a strong lead in mail-in ballots and a slim lead in the ballots cast on Tuesday.

In addition to the two City Council races, two seats on the Austin ISD Board of Trustees were also in Tuesday's runoff elections.

In the AISD District 5 race, Lynn Boswell defeated Jennifer Littlefield with nearly 55% of the vote, and Noelita Lugo took the at-large Position 8 seat with 52.1% of the vote.

According to the Travis County Clerk's office, 11,497 ballots were cast on Tuesday. During early voting, 22,209 voters cast ballots in-person, while 19,306 people voted by mail.

Just over 562,000 voters were registered and eligible to vote in at least one of the races on Tuesday's ballot.

Fight For Austin PAC called the results "a resounding rejection of the direction" of the council.
"We are thrilled that Mackenzie Kelly has unseated Jimmy Flannigan, who has chaired the Public Safety Committee and has been the architect of the city's efforts to defund the police and pass the camping ordinance, both of which have manifested harmed public safety," the group said in a statement.

While races for the Austin City Council are non-partisan, when Kelly takes office in January she will be the sole Republican sitting on what was an all Democrat City Council.

Kelly said she looks forward to working with Austinites "from all backgrounds and political persuasions."