Gale, 47, a transgendered homeless person, ran for mayor in Dallas and for multiple public offices in Austin. She was known for presenting political arguments in song.
Firefighters found her body in front of the First English Lutheran Church in Austin. A crew from a fire station across the street responded to a 911 call made at about 7:30 a.m. and performed CPR for 30 to 45 minutes, an Austin fire spokeswoman said.
The Austin Police Department is investigating Gale's death. Foul play is not suspected.
Paramedics said the church told them Gale regularly spent the night in the handicapped loading zone by the church, KXAN-TV reported.
"Her well-known catchphrase was 'Keep Austin, Austin,'" he said in a statement. "While Jennifer no longer is here to physically trumpet that slogan, her personification of that expression will never be forgotten."
A few months ago, Gale had announced another bid for Austin mayor. She ran for mayor of Dallas in 2007, finishing ninth out of 11 candidates.