Austin has always been a city ruled and defined by politics. Even in non-election years, politics plays a central role in what makes the capital city of Texas special. Currently, we are on the verge of a mid-term election year and the battle for governor is already heating up. At the center we have a secessionist governor in Rick Perry who will be fighting off challenges from all sides, including ones in his own party. While it is unlikely that he’ll face a primary, Perry has wildly oscillating approval ratings so it is impossible to tell if he is headed for re-election or defeat, but one thing is certain, Texas politics, and especially Austin politics, are never boring.
The city of Austin will also be choosing a mayor come November. Lee Leffingwell is the current mayor and he is sure to face stiff competition from a Republican. Austin is one of the few cities in Texas that is more left-leaning than right leaning. It has always given Austin a different feel from any other spot in the state. The current mayor is fairly popular so signs are pointing to a successful reelection but a lot can happen between now and election day.
Probably the big question around Austin right now is what kind of dent the Republicans can make in Washington D.C. come mid-term election time. There is also a lot of talk in Austin about the emergence of a Tea Party that could split the Republican brand like never before. If that happens, you may see the Democrats pick up seats in DC instead of losing seats, which is the common pattern during mid-term elections. No matter what happens, you can rest assured that things won’t be boring in Texas or in Austin in the build up to this year’s election.
If you need to get your political fix between now and then, there are frequently guest speakers that give speeches and talks at the university for free or for a small fee. These events are almost always open to the public and occur on an almost weekly basis. These speeches are just one of the many reasons why it pays to live in a great college town like Austin.