The field continues to grow with potential City Council candidates. After two years of controversy, a number of individuals, featuring a mix of challengers and incumbents, are seeking, or appear to be seeking, a seat on the City Council. While some may be concerned about this growing field, it actually appears to be a good thing.
Two years ago, the field for the City Council election remained pretty light until the final week of filing. That year, Councilman Mark Nair, Tom Warren, Jim F. Lowder, and Elaine Hays all filed their candidacies. The sudden surge of candidates that year brought the field to eleven candidates, up from just seven the week before. Today, counting the incumbents who have announced and the challengers who have either announced or filed treasurer appointments (which does not necessarily guarantee a candidacy), seven candidates have already tossed their hats into the ring. Councilwoman Freda Powell is expected to make an announcement next week, as well, which will like bring the field up to eight.
This number means the field is growing faster in 2019 that it was in 2017 or even in 2015. In both years, voters turned over at least a majority of the City Council to new members, and judging by the surge of candidates, that very same result is highly possible in 2019.
While these candidates have all announced or made moves to suggest they are running, this is not to discount those who are being rumored as candidates. Former elected officials, outgoing elected officials, community activists, businesspeople and others have all been rumored to be looking at candidacies. If just half of those who are rumored would jump into the race, Amarillo could be looking at one of its largest City Council fields in history.
Having a large field on the ballot may concern some, but, actually, it is beneficial. If a field is large enough, one candidate is unlikely to earn 50 percent of the vote, meaning a runoff will take place, letting voters choose between a narrowed down field. But, having a large field will allow voters to consider many different views, backgrounds and agendas when making their choices on election day.
So, please, if you are watching this election closely, celebrate in the fact that a large field is already forming. And, maybe even consider throwing a hat in the ring yourself. Voters will be best served when they have a number of options to choose from so they can vote for people who best represent their beliefs and values.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief