Austin Mayoral Race and an El Paso Connection

adler-shapleigh-oct14An Austin reader pointed me to this El Paso connection in the Austin mayoral race and I thought I would share it with you. The November 4, 2014 city elections for Austin’s mayor has seven, possibly eight candidates contending for the office. According to The Austin Chronicle, seven candidates are confirmed on the ballot with one, Mary Krenek not yet confirmed. Of all of the candidates, Steve Adler has a long-time direct connection to El Paso politics.

According to an August 8, 2014 article by Jeff Stensland posted on Time Warner Cable News, Steve Adler has a campaign war chest of $560,000, $194,000 of it from his own money. His two closest opponents have raised $162,000 and $94,000 respectively. Interestingly, according to the article, Austin limits campaign contributions to $350 per donor. However, it seems that this prohibition might be a voluntary one. Maybe someone in Austin can clarify this for us.

Steve Adler’s connection to El Paso is Eliot Shapleigh.

According to The Austin Bulldog blog, in a post titled “What’s Steve Adler Done for Austin?” posted on May 1, 2014 by Ken Martin, Adler started a friendship in 1978 with Eliot Shapleigh. According to the blog, Adler and Shapleigh entered the University of Texas law school together. Shapleigh graduated in 1981 while Adler graduated in 1982. Because of an Adler connection to Proctor & Gamble, both worked at the company for a year. Both were best man at each other’s weddings, according to the blog. Adler, after helping Shapleigh win the Texas Senate seat in 1996, went to work as Shapleigh’s chief of staff and later was his general counsel. Adler left Shapleigh’s office in 2005.

According to various online sources Adler initially worked in Shapleigh’s office on a salary, however by the time he left Shapleigh’s office he had been making as little as $50 a month for his work at Shapleigh’s office. According to Adler’s website, he is an attorney practicing in civil rights law. Explaining the work in Shapleigh’s office on his campaign website, Adler writes that he focused on economic growth “in poor communities”.

I do not know enough about the Austin political scene to comment on Adler’s campaign however, a cursory look at online sources seems to indicate that opponents are criticizing his apparent wealth. In regards to the Shapleigh connection, truth be told I had not come across Steve Adler’s name while researching Shapleigh for previous posts. Adler came to my attention thanks to an Austin reader who sent me Adler’s name and his connection to El Paso.

The reader kindly pointed me to Steve Ortega’s finance campaign report filed on May 25, 2005 where Steve Adler is listed contributing to Steve Ortega’s campaign $500 on May 13, 2005. You might remember that in 2005, Steve Ortega was running for the first time for District 7 Representative. Eliot Shapleigh did not appear as a political campaign contributor in that report filed by Ortega.

Currently, it appears that Steve Adler is the frontrunner to be Austin’s next mayor.

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