Austin mayoral, City Council District 9 races move to runoff


Emily Ng

State Sen. Kirk Watson delivers a speech at Driskill Hotel Tuesday. Prop. 1, which passed Tuesday, will improve health care in Travis County, according to Watson.

Madeline Duncan, Senior News Reporter

The Austin mayoral race will go to a runoff between Celia Israel and Kirk Watson. 

The runoff election will be Dec.13. State representative Celia Israel will face off against former state senator and mayor Kirk Watson. Israel earned 39.99% of the vote, below the 50% necessary to avoid a runoff. Watson earned 34.95% of the vote. 

If elected, Israel will be the first Latina and out LGBTQ+ mayor of Austin.

“This race has always been about who can afford to live here, and who gets to decide,” Israel tweeted. “We have the momentum, we have the energy, we have the message that resonated with the people of Austin. I will be a mayor for ALL of Austin, with your help one more time.”

Kirk Watson served as mayor of Austin from 1997 to 2001, and as a state senator from 2007 to 2020.

“Austin isn’t becoming a big city, we are a big city,” Watson tweeted. “We have big city problems, but that means we have big city opportunities. I’m thankful the voters showed their trust in my positive vision and my ability to get things done to lead our great city forward.”

The next mayor will serve two years instead of the usual four, as Austin residents voted to align mayoral elections with presidential elections last year.

Phil Brual, a government senior at UT, placed fourth in the mayoral race, earning 2.39% of the vote. Brual, the youngest candidate in the race, announced his campaign June 6.

Austin City Council’s ninth district, which represents the UT area, will also move to a runoff election Dec 13. The election will be between Zohaib “Zo” Qadri and Linda Guerrero.

Qadri, a UT alumnus, will be the first South Asian and Muslim council member in Austin if elected. Qadri earned 29.9% of the vote.

“Austin, we made it into a runoff! But the fight isn’t over,” Qadri tweeted. “It’s going to take all of us to win this election in December, but I believe that we will win!”

Qadri is a progressive candidate advocating for increased affordable housing and improved transportation. 

“When we win this, we will do so much good for all of Austin and all of District 9,” Qadri said in a video announcement. “That means affordable housing, that means equitable transit, and that means climate justice.”

Guerrero, the former chair of the Austin Environmental Commission and Austin Parks board, won 22.4% of the vote. 

On her website, Guerrero says she plans to develop Austin sustainably in a way that is acceptable to both parties. 

“I have witnessed both sides of development these past many years,” said Guerrero on her website. “I prefer a sustainable and sensitive plan that is inclusive of community goals. My top priorities are parkland, open space, conservation and preservation.”