Attorney Steve Adler defeated Austin City Council member Mike Martinez in a runoff election Tuesday for Austin mayor.
Tuesday concluded Austin’s first election under the 10-ONE system, which reorganizes the City Council’s structure from six citywide elected officials to 10 single-member districts.
Both citing transportation and affordability as the city's main issues, Adler and Martinez led an eight-man race for mayor in the general election to advance to the runoff. At his election watch party, Adler said his election to the mayor’s office means progress is possible, but there is a lot of work ahead.
“This election does not deliver the new way forward; this election only gives us the opportunity to deliver the new way forward,” Adler said. “There is much work to do to deliver the new way forward and we are ready to begin today.”
Adler said opportunity is what makes Austin special, and he intends to protect that aspect.
“The Austin we celebrate is one where everybody is good enough and nobody is too good,” Adler said. “We celebrate a city where it doesn’t make any difference what your last name is. Whether as a young musician, or a tech entrepreneur, a dishwasher, an executive, an academic or a longtime resident on a fixed income, we deserve and expect to find opportunity in Austin.”
After early voting totals showed Adler leading Martinez by 40 percentage points, Martinez conceded the election early in the night. Addressing his supporters, Martinez said he would continue to support the city outside of elected office.
“The sun will come up tomorrow, and we are still Austin freaking Texas,” Martinez said. “I’m not going anywhere. I love this city, and I called Steve [Adler] and told him I am 100 percent committed to supporting him and his vision for Austin.”
In citing his accomplishments during his eight years on the City Council, Martinez listed his work with Capital Metro and supporting the city’s move to 10-ONE.
“Those districts have chosen who they want to represent them going forward. That was the whole premise behind single-member districts,” Martinez said. “I believe we’re going to have one of the best City Councils we’ve ever had.”
At Adler's party, actress Beth Broderick said Adler would be a positive force behind the change in Austin.
“I really feel that Austin is at a crossroads and that we have to make a lot of decisions about what kind of city we want to be moving forward, and that means smart growth — that means bringing a lot of disparate coalitions together to get things done,” Broderick said. “I really had an instinct from the minute I sat down with Steve that this was a guy who had the executive experience to know how to do that.”
NAACP Austin President Nelson Linder said Adler brings new leadership to the mayor’s office in a time when it is greatly needed.
“I think he’s part of the spirit of 10-ONE; I think he’s got a vision; he’s going to be inclusive, and we need new leadership,” Linder said. “I think the times demand new leadership with a firm vision, and he’s interpolated that in every aspect I’ve seen.”
With Martinez’s defeat, Kathie Tovo will be the only returning member on the next City Council. Tovo won the District 9 seat on the City Council after fellow City Council member Chris Riley dropped out of a runoff election between the two. As Delia Garza of District 2 and Ann Kitchen of District 5 were the only candidates to win their district races outright in the general election, seven other City Council races were decided in runoff elections Tuesday.
Austin city election runoff results
Steve Adler — 67 percent
Mike Martinez — 33 percent
Ora Houston — 74 percent
DeWayne Lofton — 26 percent
Sabino "Pio" Renteria — 60 percent
Susana R. Almanza — 40 percent
Gregorio "Greg" Casar — 65 percent
Laura Pressley — 35 percent
Don Zimmerman — 52 percent
James "Jimmy" Flannigan — 48 percent
Leslie Pool — 66 percent
J.E. "Jeb" Boyt — 34 percent
Ellen Troxclair — 50.2 percent
Ed Scruggs — 49.8 percent
Sheri Gallo — 55 percent
Mandy Dealey — 45 percent
Additional repoting by Jacob Kerr.