On Wednesday, Democrat State Rep. Celia Israel (Austin) announced that she would not be seeking re-election to represent Texas House District 50 and would instead be forming an exploratory committee for the 2022 Austin mayoral race.
House District 50 encompasses north to northeast Austin, representing about 18 percent of Travis County.
The current Austin mayor, Steve Adler, is term-limited. Adler has seen himself embattled in several controversies over his tenure, including a homelessness crisis and a rise in homicides over the last few months at the heels of defunding the Austin police.
Israel has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2014 and has consistently been among the most liberal lawmakers. In the 87th Legislative Session, she was rated with an 11 of 100 on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Fiscal Index. She is a member of the newly formed “Progressive Caucus” in the House, as well as a founding member of the House LGBTQ Caucus.
She was one of several Democrat lawmakers who aided in “busting quorum” in both the 87th regular legislative session and during the first called special legislative session, paralyzing the House of Representatives for upwards of 37 days.
Representing a safe district for Democrats, it saw an almost 70 percent turnout for President Joe Biden in the 2020 general election, compared to a turnout of about 28 percent for former President Donald Trump.
Other names have long been rumored to be interested in running for Austin mayor. These include former Austin-area State Sen. Kirk Watson and current Austin City Councilwoman Kathie Tovo. Candidate filing for the position does not officially begin until next summer.