FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair Deborah Peoples and former Chief of Staff for outgoing Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth City Council Mattie Parker are headed for a runoff election to determine who becomes Fort Worth’s next mayor.
As of Sunday morning and with 100% of precincts reporting, Peoples had 33% of the vote (22,529) and Parker had 31% (20,890).
The next closest candidate, Fort Worth City Councilman Brian Byrd, had 15% of the vote (9,923).
Price announced in January she would not seek another term in office. She was first elected in 2011.
Price endorsed Parker in the May 1 election.
“Now it’s time for us to demonstrate the differences in our approach and policy and focus for our city,” Parker said.
Parker spent five years as Price’s chief of staff and is a lawyer, mother of three and founding CEO of two education non-profits.
If elected, Parker said she’d push to get students back for in-person learning and focus on economic development.
“We know every company across the country is re-evaluating everything because of COVID. So what companies would be interested in coming to a place like Fort Worth, Texas and expanding,” Parker said.
Peoples ran for mayor two years ago. She said economic development is a priority.
Along with being the Tarrant County Democratic Chair, Peoples is also a former AT&T executive and said she will bring that leadership experience to the role.
“We’re at a pivotal time in Fort Worth, and I think you have some voters that want us to maintain the status quo – not understanding that there is no status quo anymore,” Peoples said.
The runoff election is set for June 5. It will be the first time in a decade that Fort Worth voters will elect a new mayor.
“I think you’re seeing a lot of growth and change that is happening in Fort Worth right now in this race,” Erika Ramos of SteerFW.
SteerFW is a nonpartisan organization focused on civic engagement and said the choice between the city’s youngest mayor or the first mayor of color is in exciting one. The group hopes this choice brings more people to the polls.
“Our biggest hope for June 5 is we see voter turnout at least in the double digits this time around,” Ramos said.
“Ms. Peoples with her experience with the Democratic Party, she’s got a wide organization. Miss Parker has the support of a lot of city leaders and endorsements. Also, these are non-partisan elections, but I think the partisan labels are a little bit more clear in this particular election than perhaps it’s been in the past.”