Fort Worth mayor’s race is getting crowded. Here’s who signed up on first day of filing

January 13,2021

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Luke Ranker here.

Fort Worth voters will have a lot of names to choose from on the May ballot as opening day filings show a crowded race for mayor and several contested council seats.

Races are likely to expand before filing ends Feb. 12. The election will be May 1.

The race to replace Mayor Betsy Price, who has decided not to seek a sixth term, already has several contenders.

Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairwoman Deborah Peoples and Councilman Brian Byrd announced bids for Fort Worth mayor before filing opened this week. Both filed to be on the ballot Wednesday afternoon.

Chris Rector, a political newcomer, filed for mayor in the morning. In an email to the Star-Telegram he described himself as an author and disabled veteran who would focus on transparency, lower taxes, public safety and revitalizing the economy.

Mike Haynes, a write-in candidate in 2019, filed to be officially on the ballot this year.

Mattie Parker, who served as chief of staff for the mayor and council for five years, said Wednesday afternoon she is seriously contemplating a bid for mayor. She received “countless” countless phone calls asking her to run, she said, but wanted to consider it with her family.

“My husband and I really sat down and talked about what kind of Fort Worth do we want to live in, and who do we believe we can support,” Parker said.

Parker is now CEO of Cradle to Career, part of the nonprofit Tarrant To and Through, which focuses on education.

Councilwoman Ann Zadeh is also strongly considering running for mayor, but said Wednesday she would make a formal announcement later in the week.

Dee Kelly Jr., a lawyer whose firm has represented members of the Bass family and American Airlines, was seen as a likely candidate, but he announced last week he would not run for mayor.

Joyce Mitchell, another new name in Fort Worth politics, filed her campaign treasure appointment Jan. 8.

Here’s a look how City Council races are shaping up:

Councilman Carlos Flores, first elected in 2017, wants a third term. He told the Star-Telegram last week revitalization of the North Side beyond the Stockyards district was one of his focuses.

Theodore O. Gray filed to run against Flores.

Jennifer Sarduy launched a campaign website and appointed a campaign treasurer in December, but was not listed in the first day filings. She has been an outspoken critic of the current council, advocating frequently at council meetings for police reform.

Michael Crain, a Fort Worth real estate broker and Byrd’s district director, announced Tuesday he would run to replace Byrd representing the southwest. Crain filed an appointment for campaign treasurer Jan. 4 but did not officially file Wednesday.

Byrd has represented the district since 2017.

Councilman Cary Moon has represented the northeastern district since 2015 and hasn’t said publicly if he would seek reelection.

Tara Wilson, an emergency room nurse, filed Wednesday, but has been campaigning on social media since late last year.

Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, first elected to the east Fort Worth district in 2013, may have at least one opponent.

Bob Willoughby, an outspoken critic of Bivens, will challenge her for a third time.

Richard Vazquez, a Republican precinct chairman, has said on social social media he intends to run and filed a treasurer appointment in June.

Councilman Jungus Jordan filed for reelection, hoping to be the longest serving councilman in the city’s history. He took office in 2005.

He will face at least one challenger for the south Fort Worth district.

Jared Williams, who has a doctorate in science education, filed officially Wednesday but launched a social media campaign last year.

No candidates have officially signed up for District 7

Councilman Dennis Shingleton announced Monday he would not seek reelection after a decade in office.

Leonard Firestone, co-founder of the Firestone & Robertson Distilling Company, had told the Star-Telegram he was considering a bid for either District 7, which includes far north Fort Worth, or for mayor. On Wednesday he said in an email he would not run in either race.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray, in her Facebook post, said she wanted to focus on several issues facing the southeast side if she wins reelection, including disparities in the 76104 ZIP code, development of Evans and Rosedale and the completion and opening of the Reby Cary Youth Library. She was elected 2012.

Chris Nettles, who ran for mayor in 2017 and District 8 in 2019, filed Wednesday along with Christopher Johnson, who has not previously sought a city office.

Zadeh has represented District 9, which includes downtown as well as parts of south and central Fort Worth, since 2014.

Fernando Peralta Barrios, president of the Las Familias de Rosemont neighborhood, and Erik Richerson, a political newcomer, appointed a campaign treasurer this week. Neither has officially signed up to run.