Austin City Council Election 2009

The 2009 election was unusual in that a sitting council member, Lee Leffingwell, abandoned the Place 1 seat to which he won reelection in 2008, to run for mayor. Council Member Brewster McCracken, who was term-limited from seeking relection to Place 5, also competed for the mayor’s position.

Leffingwell netted 47.23 percent in the general election, and McCracken placed a distant second at 26.81 percent. McCracken then withdrew from the runoff and Leffingwell was declared the winner.

The Place 1 seat vacated by Leffingwell for his mayoral bid drew just two candidates. Chris Riley won an easy victory to serve out the unexpired portion of Leffingwell’s term (two years).

Incumbent Council Members Sheryl Cole and Mike Martinez each drew just one opponent each and enjoyed landslide victories to win a second term.

Bill Spelman, who had served a term on the city council 1997-2000, ran for the open Place 5 seat and made history by not drawing even one opponent. This time, however, he knew going into the election that as a professor at the University of Texas, and therefore a state employee, he would not be paid a salary for his council service.