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Fort Worth Is 'On The Right Track:' Betsy Price Wins 5th Term As Mayor

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has won a fifth term in office and is on her way to becoming the longest-serving mayor in city history. 

The former Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector faced her toughest re-election fight yet: a challenge from Deborah Peoples, who chairs the Tarrant County Democratic Party, and political newcomer James McBride.

Price won Saturday's election with 56% of the vote. 

Peoples campaigned with the support of progressives around Fort Worth, arguing that many residents didn’t feel heard or equally represented by the city’s leadership, and she pledged to act with urgency on transportation and other key issues.

Price pitched herself as a steady hand to continue steering Fort Worth toward a fast-approaching future with more than 1 million residents. She also identified transportation as a top priority, as well as improving education and workforce development, bringing major companies to Fort Worth and nurturing local entrepreneurs, and reducing racial disparities across the board.

“She ran a great race,” Price said of Peoples during a victory speech at Michael’s Cuisine, where she hosted a watch party packed with supporters.

“Ours was better,” she quipped to cheers.

Not all City Council members faced challengers, but all council members retained their seats at City Hall, despite an effort by progressive groups to upset the status quo.

“I think it sends the message that the city’s on the right track. We’re healthier, better educated and safer than we were eight years ago and this council’s worked hard on that,” Price said.

Municipal elections in Fort Worth are nonpartisan, but Peoples made a point to highlight Price’s Republican affiliation, tying Price to President Donald Trump. The president once referred to Price and another mayor as “fantastic friends of mine,” though Price has since pointed out that she regularly visited Barack Obama, a Democrat, when he was president, and argued that partisanship should be a non-issue in local elections.

In the end, despite an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, a shout-out from former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and an election-day assist from former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro – all of whom are vying for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee – Peoples’ bid to oust Price failed by a significant margin.

“I think citizens know that good governance happens right down the middle,” Price said. “I think this is a good mandate saying that they don’t want national partisan politics in their local government.”

When Price completes her new term, she’ll become the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. 

Fort Worth ISD

The Fort Worth school district’s sole incumbent running for re-election, District 2 trustee Tobi Jackson, will keep her seat. She’ll be joined by three newcomers who will fill seats left open by retiring members: Quinton “Q” Phillips in District 3, Ann Darr in District 5, and Carin “CJ” Evans in District 6.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.