Former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman announces run in state Senate District 14 special election

The special election for state Senate District 14 will be held July 14. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
The special election for state Senate District 14 will be held July 14. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

The special election for state Senate District 14 will be held July 14. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Don Zimmerman
Don Zimmerman filed paperwork May 11 to appear on the ballot in the special selection for Texas Senate District 14, becoming the lone Republican to join the race so far.

Sen. Kirk Watson left the seat, which covers all of Bastrop County and most of Travis County, on April 30 to take a position as the dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. The special election to fill the rest of Watson’s term through 2022 in the Senate will be held July 14.

Zimmerman was elected to Austin City Council in 2014, the first year of Austin’s 10-1 council system, by defeating Jimmy Flannigan by fewer than 200 votes the District 6 runoff election. However, in 2016, Flannigan ousted Zimmerman from the seat, winning a full four-year term.

More recently, Zimmerman ran for the Republican nomination to represent District 47 in the Texas House in 2020. He came one vote short of earning a place in the runoff election, finishing third with 4,104 votes to Justin Berry’s 4,105. Berry will run against Jennifer Fleck, the top vote-getter in March, in July’s primary runoff.

The filing deadline for the Senate District 14 position is May 13. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, filed his paperwork for a run at the seat April 29. Rodriguez, who represents District 51 covering parts Austin and southeast Travis County in the Texas House, was first elected to that position in 2002.


Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt has also announced intentions to run for the seat. She will step down from her position with the county May 13 to formally file paperwork. She has served in the county judge role since 2014, when she replaced Sam Biscoe. When Eckhardt steps down, Biscoe will come out of retirement to serve in the role on an interim basis.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar initially declared an interest in the seat when Watson first announced his resignation. However, on May 4, Casar said he will no longer seek the position and instead will run for re-election to his District 4 seat on council in November.

Watson served in the District 14 seat for 14 years from 2006-20. At a press conference announcing his resignation in February, he said he would not influence the choice of his successor.

“I do not plan to get involved in that,” Watson said. “My guess is that there are a number of people who are very interested in it.”

The special election was initially scheduled for May, but due to safety concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott delayed it until July 14. It will be held on the same day as the primary runoff elections, which Abbott also delayed in the same March 20 order.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


MOST RECENT

Central Texas Food Bank
Central Texas Food Bank announces distribution sites in March following winter storm

The Central Texas Food Bank is holding food distribution events throughout March for local residents experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering effects from damage caused by Winter Storm Uri.

Austin Marriott Downtown opens March 4. (Courtesy Austin Marriott Downtown)
31-story Austin Marriott Downtown opens March 4

The new hotel includes The Lobbyist, a two-story cocktail bar and Corinne Restaurant, a neighborhood dining and cocktail spot with an outdoor patio.

Courtney Manuel (center), I Live Here I Give Here executive director, and and board chair Kathy Smith-Willman (right) stand with Edward B. Burger, St. David's Foundation executive director, during Amplify Austin Day 2020. (Courtesy Trent Lee Photography)
Here's how to support Central Texas nonprofits during ninth annual Amplify Austin Day on March 4-5

The annual 24-hour giving campaign will begin at 6 p.m. on March 4.

People wait in line to receive a vaccine at an Austin Public Health vaccination site. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas offers COVID-19 vaccinations to school, child care workers

Educators, school staff and child care professionals are qualified to receive coronavirus vaccines effective immediately.

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott's March 2 announcement that Texas' statewide mask mandate and COVID-19-related business restrictions will be lifted as of March 10, the Texas Education Agency released updated public health guidance March 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Updated Texas Education Agency guidance allows individual school boards to determine mask policies

"Under this updated guidance, a public school system's current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy," the release reads.

H-E-B will continue to require employees to wear face masks until further notice. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B to require employees, ask customers to be masked despite upcoming expiration of governor's mandate

H-E-B officials announced their employees and vendors would still be required to be masked while on the job, and customers would be encouraged to wear masks while in stores.

Photo from inside a movie theater
Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy, closes theaters in downtown Austin and New Braunfels

Most theaters will remain open under an asset purchase agreement to the company's senior lending partners.

Winter Storm Uri ice
Winter storm closures deepen financial woes for Austin’s pandemic-battered restaurant scene

Some restaurants in Austin lost thousands of dollars in lost business due to business closures during Winter Storm Uri.

Photo of a SpaceX sign
Elon Musk's SpaceX is coming to Austin

Job postings on the SpaceX website say the company is breaking ground on a "state of the art" manufacturing facility in Ausin.

Austin ISD and other districts in Central Texas are waiting for further TEA guidance on mask requirements. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
UPDATE: Most Central Texas school district say they will continue requiring students, staff to wear masks; updated TEA guidelines expected later this week

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide mask mandate, business restrictions in Texas

With vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Greg Abbott said "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Some local officials are pushing back, saying the relaxed restrictions are coming too early.