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Politics

Election Results: Ross Will Be Arlington's Mayor; Parker Declares Victory In Fort Worth

Jim Ross in opened collared shirt and blue sports coat talking with supporters.
Bret Jaspers / KERA News
/
KERA News
Jim Ross at his election night party at the Arlington Clover Club.

Most of the runoff votes have been counted, and in Fort Worth, Mattie Parker declared victory just minutes after her opponent conceded the race to succeed Betsy Price as mayor.

Just down I-30, Jim Ross leads in the Arlington mayor's race. The Denton County city of Little Elm elected its first Black mayor. And in Dallas, two of the three incumbent City Council candidates have solid leads, while a third incumbent trails badly. Get a breakdown of these and other local races below.

Fort Worth

Mattie Parker smiling while speaking to press at election night event.
Bret Jaspers / KERA News
Mattie Parker addressed a room full of enthusiastic supporters when she declared victory at her election night event.

Parker, who's been Price's top aide in City Hall, held a lead of roughly six percentage points through the evening. Her opponent, Deborah Peoples, would've been the city's first Black mayor if elected; she conceded around 9:30 p.m.

Swearing in is set for June 15.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports more early voters cast ballots in this race than have in a decade.

Parker, who'll be sworn in June 15, runs an education nonprofit and was longtime chief of staff to the woman she'll replace, Mayor Betsy Price. Her opponent, Deborah Peoples, would've also made history if elected, as the city's first Black mayor.

Parker is an education nonprofit CEO and former chief of staff to the Fort Worth mayor and city council. She commended Peoples for their time on the campaign trail together and thanked supporters in a victory speech Saturday evening.

At age 37, she would be the city’s first millennial mayor and the youngest in the nation's 25 biggest cities.

Peoples is the outgoing chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and a former AT&T executive. Her watch party at The Post at River East was upbeat and full of energy, with a band blasting music.

Before she conceded, Peoples praised voters for the higher-than-usual turnout this election.

“I am so proud of this campaign and what we have done,” she said.

Fort Worth’s longest-serving mayor, Betsy Price, announced in January she would not seek reelection. The race to replace her was initially a crowded one, with 10 people running in the May 1 election. No one got more than 50% of the vote, triggering the runoff between Peoples and Parker, the two top vote-getters.

Arlington

Jim Ross leads the Arlington mayor's race with around 54% of the ballots counted so far. The other runoff candidate, Michael Glaspie, has just under 46% of votes counted so far.

“We just worked our tails off,” Ross said at his election-night party at the Arlington Clover Club.

Local elections typically see much lower turnout than elections in the fall, and this one was no different, though turnout in Arlington’s May elections this year were up from two years ago.

“It’s unfortunate that we don’t have that type of excitement at the local level,” Ross said. “But we have grown in runoff results and in our general election results for local elections in May. So I take that as an encouraging sign that we’re starting to attract more and more people to come out and vote.”

Ross, owner of both a well-known law firm and the restaurant Mercury Chophouse, garnered 47% of the vote in the first round May 1. He has collected many of the establishment endorsements: outgoing Mayor Jeff Williams, former mayor Richard Greene, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourne and the city’s police unions. Ross, a former police officer, also raised significantly more money than any other candidate: over $260,000 since late October, according to campaign finance reports.

Glaspie served on the city council for seven years and on the Arlington Independent School District board for 17 years. He had several notable endorsements as well, including former mayor Elzie Odom, the Dallas Morning News editorial board and the other five candidates on the ballot in Round 1. He raised about $55,000 from Jan. 1 through May 25.

The open seat came about because of city term limits passed in 2018. Current Mayor Jeff Williams was ineligible to run for re-election, which led to a robust field of seven candidates. That was whittled down to Ross and Glaspie on May 1.

In the race for the Arlington city council District 3 seat, Nikkie Hunter held an 11-point lead over Diana Saleh with most of the votes counted.

Dallas

Dallas elected four new city council members and reelected 2 incumbents in this weekend's runoff contests.

Three of the winners ran in open seats, but one incumbent didn't land the votes to be reelected.

Challenger Paul Ridley bested incumbent David Blewett with more than 60% of the votes in District 14, which covers parts of downtown, Uptown and East Dallas.

Ridley said he owes his victory to connecting with voters face-to-face.

"You saw several candidates spending huge sums of money to preserve or to obtain their position on the council. Big money lost big," Ridley said. What won was involvement with citizens issues."

Carolyn King Arnold is one of the two incumbents who was re-elected. She'll represent District 4, which covers southern Oak Cliff.

"One of my main concerns is making sure that the underserved communities are able to see some see and experience some sense of equity as relates to quality of life," King Arnold said after the election results became clear.

Adam Bazaldua also maintained his seat. He represents District 7, which covers South Dallas.

In the open seats, Jesse Moreno was elected in District 2. It was Jaynie Schultz in District 11. Gay Donnell Willis took District 13.

Shultz, a former city Plan Commission member, said top priorities include supporting public safety initiatives and addressing homelessness.

"I have no interest in defunding... making any radical changes in any way," Shultz said. "I think I'm gonna do my homework and trust the lead of our city manager.

There were six city council runoffs in all. Here's who was elected in each of the contests:

  • District 2: Jesse Moreno
  • District 4: Carolyn King Arnold
  • District 7: Adam Bazaldua
  • District 11: Jaynie Schultz
  • District 13: Gay Donnell Willis
  • District 14: Paul E. Ridley

All 14 newly elected council members will be sworn in June 14. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, who technically is the 15th council member, is in the middle of a four-year term.

The new council will take their seats as city leaders gear up for city budget decisions. The city has already hosted a series of town hall meetings where residents weighed in on how city dollars will be allocated next year.

Little Elm

Curtis J. Cornelious will become the first Black mayor of the Denton County city of Little Elm, after defeating Ken Eaken by more than seven percentage points.

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