When the deadline to run for mayor in the May 6 election expired on Friday, the incumbents in San Antonio and Fort Worth have minimal competition. Eric Johnson, the mayor of Dallas, has no opponents.
It helps the mayors politically. While their territories see rapid growth and cope with the ensuing issues of housing, transportation, and police, roughly 3.7 million inhabitants won’t have a genuine choice on the mayoral ballot in May or take part in high-profile debates about the future of their cities.
With no opposition at the top of the ticket, Texas municipal elections frequently have poor voter turnout, a trend that is expected to continue this year.
In Arlington, Texas’ seventh-most populous city, where incumbent Mayor Jim Ross has just one challenger in May, a similar tale will be told.
In recent years, Johnson, Parker, and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg have had to navigate intense political undercurrents in their local communities. The county of Tarrant, which includes Fort Worth, elected a new executive last year with the pledge to move it in a more conservative direction than the Republican he succeeded.
And in San Antonio, Nirenberg has presided over a progressive renaissance that saw two Democratic Socialists of America candidates win seats on the city council in 2021.
Goodwill for Nirenberg in San Antonio
Given that a credible competitor did not show up, Nirenberg will probably cruise to an easy victory for his fourth and final two-year term.
James Aldrete, campaign manager for Nirenberg, stated, “Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing that people think San Antonio’s on the right route.”
That contrasts sharply with Nirenberg’s tight victory in the 2014 City Council election over Greg Brockhouse, a more conservative candidate.
But over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nirenberg developed a composed and professional public persona, participating in nightly television briefings with then-Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff to inform the public about the virus’s local spread and the efforts being made by local officials to deal with the virus’ consequences.
Given that he only has two years left, it doesn’t make sense to question him now, according to Barberena.
Many of the heated City Council elections, as well as the referendums on abortion, marijuana decriminalization, and police reforms, are the focus of the drama surrounding San Antonio’s May ballot.
Although he told the San Antonio Report that he agreed in principle with “a lot of what’s in the petition,” Nirenberg has declined to take a position on the latter.
No challengers in Dallas
Johnson is seeking reelection to a second four-year term in Dallas without any opposition. Jrmar Jefferson, a former Democratic congressional candidate in East Texas, filed a challenge on Friday, but he did not meet the requirements to appear on the ballot.
Since 1967, no one has run unopposed for mayor of Dallas, according to Johnson’s campaign.
Johnson stated in a statement that serving as mayor of his hometown was the greatest honor of his life. “During the past four years, we have delivered major, quantifiable benefits for Dallas citizens, and I look forward to building on this amazing progress in my second term.”
Johnson winning easily did not usually guarantee his reelection. He has had disagreements with some City Council members and openly backed their opponents in the 2021 election.
At a time when some of his fellow Democrats are more critical of law enforcement than ever, he has fought for increased police funding and vehemently denounced the “defund the cops” movement.
Johnson took no chances and secured a number of early endorsements, including those of the city’s police union and the influential business figures who were crucial to his first victory. And by the end of the previous year, he had amassed a war chest of almost $1.2 million, a sizable sum for a mayoral election.
It was widely believed that Michael Hinojosa was getting ready to run against Johnson when he announced at the beginning of 2022 that he would resign as superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District. However, he declared his intention to withdraw from the race in late 2017 and told The Dallas Morning News that Johnson had “become a better mayor.”
Vinny Minchillo, a Republican consultant in Dallas, said, “I think [Johnsonin ]’s a fantastic position now, but one year ago, that was clearly not the story.” He “reinvented” himself somewhat and completely changed the situation.
A likely win for Parker in Fort Worth
Parker seems destined for a second two-year term without a well-funded rival from her right — or her left — months after Tarrant County showed a strong conservative tilt.
Parker stated in a statement that Fort Worth “remains a community where we avoid partisan conflicts and focus on what actually matters.” “Fort Worth is a world-class city because we prioritize public safety and invest in the infrastructure to accommodate our explosive expansion.
In order to make Fort Worth stronger and safer and to make sure that we are leaving this place better than we found it, I look forward to continuing to work with our City Council and all of the residents of Fort Worth.
Last year, Parker, the lone Republican in charge of the biggest cities in Texas, grew more and more frustrated with her party. She even went so far as to state that she was unable to participate in a primary because she was unable to face her reflection.
At the time, Tim O’Hare, a conservative firebrand who attracted the support of former President Donald Trump, defeated her predecessor and mentor Betsy Price in the GOP primary race for Tarrant County judge. Price was a member of the county’s heritage of moderate, business-friendly Republicans.
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