Lack of contested candidates
A trio of incumbents, along with a longtime elected official, will go unopposed in their quest for the Buda city council dais.
On Sept. 4, the Buda City Council officially canceled its Nov. 6 election for four city council seats, due to a lack of candidates in the running.
That trend can also be found in Kyle, where only one of two city council seats up for grabs this November will be contested.
For Ray Bryant, a former Kyle city council member and who will go unopposed for the at-large Buda Place xx seat, a lack of opposition won’t stop him from campaigning to citizens. However, the lack of public involvement in the process leaves Bryant with mixed feelings.
“I think running contested is very vital to elections, but I still plan on getting out there in public and sharing who I am,” Bryant said.
Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said a variety of factors can play into candidate apathy.
In Kyle, Mitchell said the city is occupied by a large number of “blue collar” families who might not have time to stay political involved.
The opportunity to serve on the city council is a high-intensity, time-consuming position, which may disqualify people from serving, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said operating as an elected official is akin to a second full-time job. Council members are required to spend hours studying agenda material and prepare for a meeting, all while also doing their own day jobs.
“A lot of factors can go into why a seat is uncontested,” Mitchell said. But voters are served well when they are given a choice. It’s healthy for a community when candidates have to compete for votes.”
Not all communities are the same, however. In San Marcos, ten candidates are flying for four open city council seats in November.
Demographics are different in San Marcos than in the rest of the county, Mitchell said. However, Mitchell said he doesn’t believe democracy is at stake with a lack of candidates, but also realizes why it’s difficult for people to get involved in local politics.
“It’s my job to fuel that fire,” Mitchell said. “If there is an apathy to participate in local government, I need to do a better job of getting people involved.”
Bryant, a political veteran, said he is aware of the amount of time that goes into being an elected official.
A former Kyle council member from 2007 to 2014, Bryant said he spent his spare time focusing on learning the City of Buda’s comprehensive plan, capital improvements plan and other city-wide documents in preparation for the council.
“My call is to be a servant and that’s why I’m back in the arena again in a capacity I am comfortable with,” Bryant said. “I’m excited to be part of it again.”