She wants one of her old jobs back.
A no-holds-barred campaigner, Strayhorn will spice up an already lively mayor's race. Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken, a high-energy and ambitious figure, began his mayoral campaign in December. Former Texas Monthly publisher Mike Levy -- who, like Strayhorn, is unafraid to speak his mind -- and Council Member Lee Leffingwell have also said they are seriously considering running.
The winner will replace Mayor Will Wynn , whose second term ends in June and who won't run again. Election day is May 9.
Strayhorn filed paperwork in November allowing her to start raising money for a mayoral bid without having to declare a candidacy.
On the campaign trail, Strayhorn can claim that, as a former comptroller, she boasts financial know-how at a time when the city faces serious budget woes, Austin political consultant Mark Littlefield said. And Strayhorn is a feisty campaigner who connects with crowds, he said.
"She will say what she believes and say it with a wit and vigor that's comparable to (former Texas governor) Ann Richards. She has a lot of skill as a messenger," Littlefield said.
But Strayhorn's previous tenure as mayor also means she risks being seen as a throwback to the past, he said.
"I'm sure she'll try to spin herself as a maverick and an independent thinker, but the other candidates can say: 'It's time to look forward instead of backward.' "
Austin political consultant David Butts , who backs Leffingwell, said Strayhorn will draw solid support from older and conservative voters. But because she's run other races as a Republican and an independent, she'll have trouble wooing the Democratic voters who dominate city elections, he said.
In the five -person governor's race in 2006 , Strayhorn won only 14 percent of the vote in Travis County.