Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price kicked off her campaign for a second two-year term, noting achievements in public engagement, community partnerships such as the one that’s repairing the old Forest Park Pool, lower crime, transportation, and a move to contain the city’s employee pension liability.
Looking ahead, Price, 63, said she wants to deliver commuter rail, continue the city’s major push to improve infrastructure, deepen the city’s partnership with local schools, bring new development and jobs, and work to get more people interested in local government.
"We still have work to do, and that’s why I’m announcing I’m running again," Price said to applause during a news conference at the Brighter Outlook Community Center, a nonprofit center in southeast Fort Worth’s Stop Six neighborhood. "I want to give every one of our neighborhoods a chance to succeed."
Filing for the May 11 city elections in the area opened Wednesday, and closes March 1.
There will be at least two contested Fort Worth city races. Councilman Danny Scarth, who represents part of the East and North sides, drew a challenge from Paul Gardner, an Autobahn Porsche salesman and member of the city’s Board of Adjustment. And Councilman Frank Moss, who represents part of the east and southeast sides, drew a contest from John Tunmire, a real estate broker.
In Arlington, District 4 incumbent Kathryn Wilemon was the only person to file Wednesday. Wilemon, 75, is seeking her sixth term to represent west Arlington.
"I think I’ve always filed on the first day," Wilemon said.
Mayor Robert Cluck, District 3 representative Robert Rivera, District 5 representative Lana Wolff and District 8 representative Michael Glaspie have all said they will file for re-election.
Price, whose announcement was attended by several city council members and community leaders, joked about her packed schedule, saying staffers have started taking multivitamins to keep up, her husband "has started to wonder if I exist," and their daughter has said "we gained a great mayor but lost a babysitter."
Asked how much money she’ll need to run the race, Price said that’ll depend on whether she draws a challenger. She said she has about $100,000 in her warchest, with a fundraiser coming up Feb. 13.
Other Fort Worth incumbents filing re-election papers Wednesday were Mayor Pro Tem W.B. "Zim" Zimmerman, Jungus Jordan, Dennis Shingleton, Kelly Allen Gray, and Joel Burns. Sal Espino, who represents the North Side and has said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll seek re-election, is the only remaining incumbent who hasn’t yet filed.
Fort Worth council members are campaigning in newly drawn districts, with the most changes in far North Fort Worth, where Espino’s large District 2 was pared and portions of the far North sent to Shingleton’s District 7 and Danny Scarth’s District 4.
Gardner, 31, who lives in the Heritage Trace area in the fast-growing Alliance Corridor, was named to the Board of Adjustment by Scarth last year.
Gardner, who said he hasn’t sought the backing of any interest groups yet, called himself a conservative who wants to deliver "efficient and responsive" government. Like many residents in the fast-growing far North Fort Worth, he said the city hasn’t kept up with providing services to new neighborhoods.
Gardner attempted to draw no distinctions between himself and Scarth.
"At this point, we’re focusing on getting out there and knocking on doors," he said. "We’re going to have plenty of time to discuss differences."
Gardner, who named his wife Lindsey campaign treasurer, said he doesn’t have a sense yet of how much money he’ll attempt to raise or will need.
Scarth, 51, who is now running his fifth election campaign and has drawn at least one opponent every race, touted the city’s progress in road and street construction, public transportation, and economic development.
And "one of the things I enjoy about having some seniority around the Metroplex " is representing Fort Worth on various boards and committees, such as the North Central Texas Council of Governments executive board and the city’s Passenger Rail Working Group, he said.
Scarth, who runs a video production and media company, estimated his campaign typically will spend $45,000 or $50,000 on a race and is able to contain costs using his background.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter
- Susan Schrock, Star-Telegram Arlington City Hall reporter