Brewster McCracken has bowed out of the runoff gracefully, facing a 20 point vote deficit and Lee Leffingwell is Austin’s new mayor.
I’m sure Max will be along soon – when he gets back in town – to give his viewpoint on the Mayor’s race and the future prospects for Austin.
McCracken withdrew just two days after he finished second in the polls behind council member Lee Leffingwell. McCracken made his decision Monday after talking to his supporters, but he says it became apparent on election night that winning a runoff was just too much of an uphill battle.
McCracken received 27 percent of the vote. Leffingwell led with 47 percent, just short of the “50 percent plus one vote” rule, that would have put Leffingwell into a runoff with McCracken.
McCracken said Monday a runoff would have required a tough fundraising drive in tough economic times and that the runoff itself would have been costly for taxpayers to the tune of about half a million dollars.
“I believe that pursuing a runoff election would not be in the best interest of Austin, so that’s why I’m doing it,” said McCracken. “I thought it would have been a distraction in a time when Austin needs to get to work tackling our challenges.”
McCracken offered his support and help to Leffingwell, who will be sworn in next month.
“We know there are some very difficult budget decisions ahead of us,” said Leffingwell. –”It will not exactly be a pleasant time to be mayor, but it’s an important time to be mayor.”
Mayor-elect Leffingwell said his priorities include tackling the budget and establishing a cabinet of community leaders to help advise him.
McCracken had reached his term limits as a council member. He says leaving elected life will give him more time to spend with his 5-year-old son and his new wife. He plans to stay involved with renewable energy issues like the Pecan Street Project.
Leffingwell said Monday that he will consider withdrawing his criminal complaint against McCracken if the issue can be resolved another way, such as by an attorney general’s decision or by city council action.
Stick around Austin Mayor blog for some thoughts and comments from Max Nofziger about Austin’s future.