Mayoral Candidate In Austin Files Lawsuit Against City Over Election Rules

A mayoral contender in Austin has filed a lawsuit against the city. Jennifer Virden, who started her mayoral campaign previously this week, has submitted a lawsuit against the city of Austin, arguing that preventing her from fundraising until November is illegal.

Representatives in general elections are not allowed to take campaign contributions until one year before polling day, according to local rules. Virden announced his candidacy in a sequence of consecutive tweets on Monday. She says she’ll focus on supporting city services as mayor in these posts, and she elaborates on her program on her official site.

Virden issued a lawsuit against the City of Austin in March, arguing that Section 2-2-7(B) of the city regulations is unconstitutional and “has the effect of silencing the competing speech of challengers.”

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Virden to begin fundraising as soon as possible

Virden’s attorney, Jerad Najvar, obtained a temporary injunction on 2-2-7(B) at a hearing Friday at the federal courts, allowing Virden to begin fundraising immediately.

The limitation on politicians fundraising over a year before an election, according to Najvar, permits incumbents to shout out on problems that may arise while preventing competitors from doing the same.

“People from a different viewpoint, who would like to step out and criticize what’s happening in the region right now, don’t have such [media] privileges,” Najvar said in an interview, adding: “As a result, they’ll need to fund-raise. As a result, Austin’s statute now prohibits organized opposition from forming.”

When asked why it’s so vital that Virden be given an injunction, Najvar mentioned the people who would like to donate some money right now but can’t.

Virden must not be given a temporary injunction, according to the City of Austin’s formal response to requests, for various reasons, including an absence of standing and a failure to be diligent in opposing the ordinance.

The area’s reaction also noted that the fundraising limitations were enacted as a consequence of a citizen effort in 1997 and that voters approved the requirements by an “overwhelming 72 percent margin.”

The city’s justification against Virden’s injunction is not acceptable to Najvar

The City of Austin’s justifications against giving Virden an injunction, according to Najvar, were not convincing. He said that Virden’s case is critical for any Austin residents who dare to challenge politicians in the future.

“What we’re trying to do is break open this, you know, the pathway for challengers, for candidates with a different perspective to come in and disseminate their message,” said Virden’s lawyer.

The general election is in November 2022.