Everyone who knows me is aware that I have been a supporter of City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Brewster McCracken in the race for Austin Mayor.
In yesterday's election no candidate received the required 50% of the vote to claim the office, thus the top two candidates will face a run-off election on June 13th, 2009.
It was surprising to most to see that candidate Lee Leffingwell garnered 47%, while Brewster only pulled 27% in this three way race (Carole Keeton Strayhorn got 21%) between five people on the ballot.
Leffingwell's campaign is proud of the huge margin, based on percentage of those who voted, and from the way the TV news reported this... is claiming some sort of fictional mandate of the Austin voters.
The real story here is NOT about the percentages, it is about the HORRIBLE and embarrassingly low turn out of the registered voters. In a city with over 500,000 voters, just over 30,000 people voted for Leffingwell, and over 20,000 for Mr. McCracken. Instead of bragging about the percentages who favored them, both candidates should be appalled that they were part of an election where NOBODY cared enough to show up and vote.
This is embarrassing and every citizen in the city of Austin should be ashamed. The four city council members who were elected last night should not have been having victory parties to celebrate, but should be wearing black arm-bands to signify that they really have no support of their constituency. Theirs are dead-victories.
Every elected official in Austin should be disgusted with this low turn out. (But they are not, because a small turn-out with the "usual suspects" insures the same folks repeated victories). All of them should express REGRET that they do not make enough of an impact on the lives of the people who live in the city.
"Get Out The Vote" should be the rally call of our leaders. Anyone who hopes for low turn out has no business in public service!
I want to see Brewster McCracken and Lee Leffingwell take on this cause of increasing voter turn out during the month that will now lead up to the run off election.
While I will continue to support Brewster McCracken for Mayor of Austin, I am more concerned with the real numbers of voters than I am with who wins the race.
Come on Austin. We are better than this.
Have A Great Day.