January 12, 2009
Strayhorn makes it official

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.

BOR made that same observation when Strayhorn first announced her intent to run. She did slightly worse in the city of Austin, finishing behind the other three contenders. I don't know how much effect that might have on this race, but it's not particularly auspicious. They're not too impressed over there, that's for sure. Anyone else in Austin care to weigh in?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 12, 2009 to Election 2009

I'm not in Austin, but I'll say this: Texas needs to have a mayor named Brewster McCracken.

Posted by: Leif on January 12, 2009 11:43 PM

I have no idea what she thinks she has to offer or how she thinks she can win.

Posted by: Jeb on January 13, 2009 11:14 AM
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