AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council District 6 seat will go to a runoff election with incumbent Council Member Jimmy Flannigan and Mackenzie Kelly.

Incumbent Flannigan faced off against three other challengers — Mackenzie Kelly, Jennifer Mushtaler and Dee Harrison — in the race to represent District 6 in northwest Austin.

Flannigan received 14,180 (40.2%) votes, while Kelly had 11,775 (33.4%), Mushtaler had 6,738 (19.1%) and Harrison had 2,561 (7.3%).

Jimmy Flannigan has represented the district on the city council since 2016. He is the former president of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and an organizer with Northwest Austin Coalition. He currently chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee which is moving forward the council’s prior resolutions on police reform and racial justice. He notes that affordability and equity as two of his top concerns. 

“Look I am very excited, we are the top vote-getter in District 6, we are headed into the runoff with all of the momentum and the support of my community, and I am excited to take this to the voters in December, and I am confident that we will win,” Flannigan said while at a small, backyard election watch party he attended.

“It is always easier to oppose actions, it’s always easier to fight change than it is to offer your own solutions,” Flannigan continued. “And what we are seeing in this election tonight is that this community, that District 6 is ready to move forward with the bold leadership that I have provided.”

Mackenzie Kelly ran on her experience as a volunteer firefighter and president of Take Back Austin, which is pushing to reinstate the ban on public camping in Austin. The group accuses the current city leadership of “poor policies and mismanagement of the city.”

Kelly opposes city council’s cuts to the Austin Police Department and says public safety is a priority that should be “fully funded.” She was endorsed by the Travis County Republican Party, Texas Republican Party chair Allen West and former Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell. 

“As a native Austinite I know what this district needs, I have been here my entire life and public safety is paramount,” Kelly said at the Travis County Republicans election night event. “The runoff results show that this district cares about public safety and they care about the homelessness issue and we are going to solve those problems once I am elected.”

Both Flannigan and Kelly had criticisms to level at each other on Tuesday night. Kelly accused Flannigan of not being conservative enough for the district and Flannigan called out Kelly for posing in a photo now under investigation by Austin Police which shows officers in uniform in a group that appears to include white supremacists.

Jennifer Mushtaler, a physician and obstetrician-gynecologist, argued her background in medicine makes her uniquely capable to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She received her doctorate at Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and has served on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission on Ethics. 

Her campaign priorities included improving police, fire and EMS services in Austin, and she opposes the council’s move to reduce APD’s budget.

Dee Harrison argued her decades of experience in crisis management for multiple state agencies and with Williamson County will allow her to address the crises of civil unrest and COVID-19. 

District 6 is the only Austin City Council district which is located in both Travis and Williamson County. According to the city’s records from January of this year there are 25,978 registered and qualified District 6 voters who live in Williamson County and 26,473 qualified District 6 voters who live in Travis County. 

The city of Austin runoff election will occur December 15.

Austin City Council District 6 (City of Austin Photo)
Austin City Council District 6 (City of Austin Photo)