Multi-million dollar election holds lessons for future campaigns

FILE Vote Voting sign
FILE - Voting sign (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Campaign finance documents show Uber and Lyft invested more than $9 million in a campaign to support Prop 1, but the measure still failed, and the companies left Austin.

“I wasn’t surprised, but I am definitely shocked and upset,” said Joshua Cruz, who drove for the companies and worked on the Uber and Lyft-supported Ridesharing Works for Austin campaign. “It’s completely shaken up our whole entire lives. I think one of the worst things is people trying to just find another source of income.”

Like thousands of other drivers, Cruz can no longer turn on the apps and start picking up passengers in Austin. Cruz believes the ballot language was misleading and the May election date hurt the Uber and Lyft cause.

“I looked at the money and I looked at the pile of mailers on my counter and it was hard to imagine the measure not passing,” said James Henson, Ph.D., who directs the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.

However, Henson’s assumption did not prove true. On election day, the results came back defeating Proposition 1.

“It will be a note of caution for campaigns that engage in overkill, like the overkill became the story,” said Henson.

“I think there are lessons for Uber in Lyft about the best ways to work with local governments and how to get things accomplished, get things done. I think there are lessons for our local government about how to work with other big companies.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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