Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Mayor announces large amounts of campaign funds raised, but his opponents continue to press

By meerna Jul11,2024
Mayor announces large amounts of campaign funds raised, but his opponents continue to press

Thursday, July 11, 2024 by Jo Clifton

Monday is the deadline for all City Council candidates to file campaign finance reports for the period ending June 30. Political observers expect Mayor Kirk Watson to raise significantly more than his opponents, as he has in the past. So it’s no surprise that he announced Tuesday that his re-election campaign raised more than $710,000 between mid-April and June 30.

Watson also issued a press release announcing that he had gained 1,068 new supporters, in addition to 60 current and former local officials supporting his re-election.

“With three opponents and four months until Election Day, we are launching our campaign into high gear to win in November,” he said.

Watson currently has three opponents: Kathie Tovo, Doug Greco and Carmen Llanes Pulido.

Llanes Pulido said Austin Monitor so far, she has a preliminary estimate of $91,000. When she announced she would be a candidate for the position in January, she said she was running against Watson because his leadership led to wasteful spending, insufficient planning and “quite frankly, a bias toward a much smaller city.”

On Wednesday, she said of running for office: “It’s been an exciting and very rewarding experience so far. It’s inspiring to see people from all over the city with such diverse backgrounds come together to run a grassroots campaign based on pure enthusiasm for good governance, accountability and great concern for our city.

“I know our current incumbent will spend more money on me, but I feel incredibly empowered in terms of people power,” she said. “There are so many volunteers and creators stepping up to get our name out there and activating waves of people who are rarely seen in the political heart of Austin but who regularly contribute to the vibrant culture here. We will continue to raise money to amplify the message while also leveraging our connections to different networks across the city.”

None of the others were willing to disclose the amounts of funds raised, but they issued statements criticizing Watson.

“The total amount raised by my opponent is not surprising; it’s a bit of a slowdown compared to when he ran in 2022,” Tovo said. “As we saw recently, he raised $1.8 million from developers and lobbyists who benefited from his decisions at City Hall, but money doesn’t buy votes. He barely won then, and now he’s facing significant opposition.”

She added, “I will not let big money define this race, and neither should voters. Across the city, Austin voters support me because they want a mayor who puts people first, is committed to transparent government, will deliver community-led solutions to our city’s most pressing challenges, and who has a proven track record of effective, independent leadership in City Hall.”

Greco sent the following statement to Austin Monitor: “Our campaign continues to build support, momentum, and raise the money we need to spread our message about improving the lives of working people and fighting Greg Abbott’s attacks on civil rights. Kirk Watson’s time has come as a long-time politician who has failed to solve Austin’s affordability problem and refuses to stand up to Republican leaders’ attacks on Austin values.”

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By meerna

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