UPDATE: Espino, Gray, Scarth maintaining leads in latest batch of votes. Moss and Bivens in a dead heat. See the results here.
Incumbent City Council members Sal Espino, Kelly Allen Gray and Danny Scarth led challengers by wide margins in early voting results released tonight, and incumbent Frank Moss led his challengers by a thin margin in the early voting tally.
In the North Side District 2, Espino had 909 mail-in and early in-person votes, or 56.15 percent of the vote over challenger Jim Lane’s 710 votes.
In the East Side/far North District 4, Scarth had 858 mail-in and early in-person votes or 59.13 percent of the votes, compared to challenger Paul Gardner’s 593.
In the Southeast District 8, Gray had 961 mail-in and early in-person votes, or 55.71 percent, compared to challenger Kathleen Hicks’ 764 votes.
In the Southeast/East District 5, Moss had 803 mail-in and early in-person votes, or 47.12 percent, compared to 768 votes for Gyna Bivens and 133 for John Tunmire.
Gray and Moss invested heavily in encouraging the early vote, and Bivens had conceded a big edge to Moss in the mail-in and early vote.
Tarrant County election officials said the numbers represented all of the mail-in and early in-person vote. They said they expected the next batch of numbers at 8:30 p.m. The polls closed today at 7 p.m.
In District 8, Hicks, 40, who grew up in Rolling Hills and lives in Meadowbrook, represented the district from 2005 to 2012. She campaigned on wanting to “finish the job” she started, touting major
accomplishments such as the East Berry tax increment financing district that’s drawn major redevelopment including a new Walmart to the business-hungry district.
Gray, 44, elected to fill the remaining one year of Hicks’ term last year when Hicks stepped down to run unsuccessfully for Congress, asked voters for a shot at showing what she could do with a full term. She said she wanted to make her next two years chiefly about cleaning up East Lancaster Street
and improving its business prospects.
Gray had a busy first nine months on the council, participating in a 5-4 vote to block a water rate increase, taking flak for letting Spinks Airport and its growth opportunity go to another district in a
redraw of council maps, recusing herself from votes on major changes to the city’s underfunded pension and a new police contract because her husband is a 21-year police officer, and tangling with the developer who led the major mixed-use project now underway on East Berry.
In District 2, Espino, 45, an attorney who grew up on the North Side, and Lane, 68, an attorney who’s lived on the bluff overlooking Jacksboro Highway for more than 30 years, agreed on the district’s needs: streets, police, fire, code compliance, economic development, education and parks. Lane argued he believed Espino had lost his focus on the heart of the old North Side after moving his residence to the far North part of the district.
In District 5, Bivens, 58, a nonprofit executive who lives in Ramey Place across from Dunbar High School, campaigned on there being too much blight and not enough progress toward redevelopment.
Bivens wants to work with neighborhood associations in the district on developing master plans that could be presented to business, and she also wants to establish a program with churches to help keep up with seniors who don’t have relatives living nearby.
Moss, 68, who lives in Historic Rosedale Park, has served on the council since 2007 in his most recent go-around and also served from 1998 to 2004. He campaigned on accomplishments such as the city teaming with the Fort Worth Housing Authority on a study to redevelop the aging Cavile Place public housing development in Stop Six; and clearing the way for the Enchanted Bay subivision around the southwest side of Lake Arlington.
Tunmire, 58, a real estate broker who lives in Handley, campaigned on bringing business to the district, saying he thought the city had forgotten District 5. Tunmire raised no money and spent little.
In District 4, Scarth, 52, owner of a video services company and councilman since 2006, touted his relationships and familiarity with the city’s workings. Gardner, 32, a remodeler and Porsche salesman, made communication a cornerstone of his campaign message, asserting that Scarth doesn’t communicate effectively with constituents.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter