AP NEWS

Mayoral elections Saturday in 3 of largest cities in Texas

May 2, 2019

DALLAS (AP) — Three cities that are among the largest in Texas, with a combined population of more than 3.5 million people, are holding mayoral elections Saturday.

Nine candidates are vying to replace Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who is unable to seek a third term due to term limits. The Dallas Morning News in an editorial urged voters to focus on three candidates who stand out: State Rep. Eric Johnson, philanthropist and former biotech executive Lynn McBee and Dallas school district trustee Miguel Solis.

The next mayor must find answers for growing the poorer, southern half of the city while addressing rising property taxes and concerns over public safety, the newspaper editorial said. The police force has been a primary issue as the department continues to lose officers to other cities. A shaky pension fund and rising response times also have driven community conversations.

Saturday’s voting is expected to end in a runoff between the top two vote-getters.

There are also nine candidates in San Antonio, where Mayor Ron Nirenberg is seeking a second term. His stiffest challenge appears to be from City Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who is backed by the fire and police unions.

The contest took a surprising detour in March when the City Council, citing a “legacy of anti-LGBT behavior,” voted to ban Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant at San Antonio International Airport, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Nirenberg defended the move in part by noting the fast-food restaurant is closed on Sunday, limiting its availability to customers. But Brockhouse has argued the ban is an attack on religious freedom.

Brockhouse has criticized Nirenberg, saying he is resorting to personal attacks with advertising that notes police were dispatched to Brockhouse’s home on domestic violence calls in 2006 and 2009. Brockhouse was not charged or arrested in the incidents and has denied wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, it’s a smaller field of candidates in Fort Worth, where Mayor Betsy Price is seeking an unprecedented fifth term. Her leading challenger is Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairwoman Deborah Peoples.

Democrats are hoping to continue making gains in the county after Beto O’Rourke, the 2018 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, flipped Tarrant County , a surprising development in light of its reputation as one of the most conservative counties in the state.

Both Price and Peoples have urged improvements to transportation infrastructure.