AUSTIN (KXAN) The race for Austin’s next mayor is underway.

Less than four months away from election day in November, seven candidates have entered the race to succeed Steve Adler — who’s held his position since 2015.

  • Texas State Rep. Celia Israel at a podium in an east Austin park announcing her mayoral run. She's surrounded by several people holding signs reading "Celia: A Mayor for All of Austin."
  • Jennifer Virden (Courtesy of Jennifer Virden)
  • Anthony smiling
  • Erica Nix (KXAN Photo/Blake DeVine)
  • Phil Brual

Leading the way financially is former state senator Kirk Watson, who has already raised around $1 million.

As of July 15 — the deadline for mid-year campaign finance report filings — Watson’s huge haul may have actually exceeded the money raised by all other candidates combined.

The former Austin mayor wants the city government to pick up the pace in this fast-growing place.

“Certainly, ought to be moving at enough of a pace that it doesn’t hinder doing the kinds of things that we need to get done,” Watson said.

With more than 2,000 different donations, State Rep. Celia Israel has raised over $250,000.

“There are people who are driving this economy, who are working in the city but cannot afford to live in this city,” she said. “I think that’s a crisis.”

Real estate broker and former District 10 council candidate Jennifer Virden has raised $84,000.

“I want to restore our public safety and that dovetails with solving our homeless crisis,” she said.

University of Texas student Phil Brual is also running for mayor.

“I would love to build up this city’s public transportation,” he said. “Also trying to preserve Austin and help protect why people move here.”

Anthony Bradshaw doesn’t plan to raise any money for his current campaign.

“Minorities are not getting the education that they should get,” he said. “I believe through effective counseling it would change their vision, change their thought.”

LGBTQ fitness fanatic Erica Nix also hasn’t raised any money.

“I want to get artists and creative spaces a secure place in Austin,” she said.

Candidate Gary Spellman is not raising money for his campaign. He said he is “encouraging anybody who wishes to donate… to instead donate that money to one of the local charities in Austin.”

Spellman told KXAN his top priority is to “secure a long-range plan on [Austin’s] infrastructure.”

The first day candidates can officially file to be on the ballot is Monday, July 25.