Contested races develop for 2 council seats
Nine candidates, including seven of the eight current Pasadena City Council members, have officially registered to run in the city’s May 4 election, and filings by challengers have so far ensured two contested races.
One incumbent, District B’s Bruce Leamon, will face Steve Halvorson, a challenger he defeated in a close race in 2017, while another, Felipe Villarreal in District A, will run against former City Council member Ornaldo Ybarra.
All eight seats in council up for re-election on May 4. The other incumbents who are filed to run again are Don Harrison of District C, Sammy Casados of District D, Phil Cayten of District F, Cary Bass of District G and Thomas Schoenbein of District H.
The other council member is Cody Ray Wheeler in District E. Joseph L. Thomas has filed as a candidate for that seat.
The deadline to submit an application to be a candidate is Feb. 16.
Mayor Jeff Wagner, elected in May 2017 after Johnny Isbell reached term limits in that post, has two years left in a four-year term. The 2017 election was the city’s first after a voting rights lawsuit by Hispanic residents led to Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s order that the city stop using a mix of at-large and district seats and revert to a 2013 plan based on eight single-member districts.
Villareal is seeking his second term, winning his seat after defeating Daniel Vela in a 2017 runoff. His opponent, Ybarra, is a Pearland police officer who served three terms after first being elected in 2009.
In District B, Halvorson, a military veteran who has a career in research spanning 27 years, lost to Leamon by nine votes in 2017. Leamon was first elected to office 2013 and is in his third term.
Harrison served on the council from 1981 to 1989 and was elected mayor pro tem in 1983. Re-elected to council in 2003, Harrison served until 2006 and was re-elected in 2007 and served through 2015. He was re-elected again in 2017.
Casados was first elected to office 2015 and seeking his third term.
Cayten is another council veteran, having served from 1995 to 2003 and 2007 to 2015 and then being elected in 2017.
Bass was first elected in 2015 and is serving a third term.
Schoenbein is seeking his second term.