New Old Mayor
Kirk Watson wins Austin mayoral runoff race by very narrow margin
Austin voters have chosen Kirk Watson as their next mayor, in a tight race decided by a few hundred votes.
In November, neither Watson nor State Rep. Celia Israel received more than 50 percent of the vote in the race for Austin mayor, forcing a December 13 runoff.
On Tuesday, December 13, Watson was behind Israel by just 17 votes in Travis County, with 50.01 percent voting for Israel and 49.99 percent voting for Watson. In Williamson County, Watson won 62 percent among city of Austin voters, bringing him to the lead by 886 votes.
Just under 18 percent of registered Travis County voters participated in the mayoral runoff.
In a victory speech on Tuesday night, Watson said, "It means a lot to me to know that Austinites in every part of this city still want the leadership I have tried to deliver."
Watson, a former Texas State Senator, is also the former mayor of Austin. He served as mayor from 1997 to 2001, and in February 2022 announced his plans to run for the office again.
“On behalf of the entire City of Austin government I would like to offer our warmest congratulations to our newly elected mayor and new and returning council members,” said City Manager Spencer Cronk. “Their commitment to representing our community is the cornerstone of our democracy and provides such an important link between government and the people. City staff will be working to give our newly elected officials the support they need to get to work from day one.”
Austin also gained three new council members last night, after runoff elections for District 3, District 5, and District 9. Tuesday's winners in those districts were José Velásquez, Ryan Alter, and Zo Qadri, respectively.
Read more about Kirk Watson and each new council member at KVUE.com.