Austin City Council Member Greg Casar pivots from Texas Senate race, says he'll run for re-election in light of pandemic

District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Greg Casar, District 4 Austin City Council member, will no longer seek former state Sen. Kirk Watson's vacated District 14 seat. Casar said May 4 that, in light of the pandemic, he will stay put and seek re-election as Northeast Austin's City Council representative.

"I'm staying right where I am because you elected me for this job, for this moment," Casar said in a video posted to his Twitter account Monday morning. "Instead of running for Senate, I'm committed to doing this job, and I'm running for re-election for City Council District 4 so I can keep representing the city I love and changing the state I love from the place I can be most effective."

With his City Council term up this November, Casar, who turned 31 on May 4, teased a possible Senate run after Watson announced he would vacate his long-held seat for a position as the founding dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston.

However, that was March 2. It would be only four days later that Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced the cancellation of South by Southwest Conference & Festivals and roughly three weeks later that the city went into a monthlong stay-home order to slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Casar said the pandemic "significantly" impacted his decision to forego a Senate run and stick to the local dais.

"It's just not right for me to leave this job during this crisis," Casar told Community Impact Newspaper via text message. "Our top state leadership is so focused on public perception—so it's up to us to stay focused on public health. Our top priority is to slow the spread of the virus and save lives."

Casar said after the city comes out of the crisis, Austin needs an economic recovery strategy that is "good for everyday people—not just for big companies."
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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