So far, three major candidates have announced intentions to seek seats on the Amarillo City Council next year and have held events to promote their candidacies. Another candidate may be on the way this week, not to mention other announcements likely to come over the next few weeks.
Regardless of how you feel about the three announced candidates or any who may soon follow, there is a lot to be hopeful about ahead of the 2019 Amarillo City Council and school board elections.
Hayden Pedigo, Howard Smith and Steven Rosas are officially in the contest for the Amarillo City Council for 2019, or about as official as you can get without filing the proper paperwork (filing doesn’t begin until mid-January). The good news is these announcements put us well ahead of 2017, or even 2015, with still over a month until official filing begins.
At this time in 2016, lots of rumors were flying around about who might run, but Ginger Nelson had not uttered anything publicly about running and there were rumors that Elisha Demerson could run for mayor, but that was also up in the air. The first true campaign announcements both came around December 14, 2016, when Nelson and Smith both announced their campaign. Businessman Jeremy Bryant announced a short-lived bid around Christmas that same time, but that was it until January.
For 2015, there was not much of anything said publicly about who planned to run for seats on the City Council until the filing season had already begun. The first major announcements by candidates during that cycle came in January, thanks to announcements by Mark Nair and Steve Rogers that they would seek the Place 4 seat once held by the late Jim Simms.
One thing to remember is, with the exception of Nelson and Smith, in 2015 and 2017, the eventual winners of each seats announced their campaigns during the year of the election. In fact, in both cycles, almost every single candidate announced the year of the election, and not earlier.
So, as of December 4, 2018, three candidates have officially announced their intentions to run for City Council seats in 2019. Pedigo is arguably the most high-profile of the three candidates, Smith is a long-time government official, and Rosas is a relative newcomer. Mayor Ginger Nelson is also expected to make an announcement this week and lots of other names have been floating around.
This may seem early, but if you are hoping for a large, diverse and robust field, this could be a good sign of the plethora of candidates that may turn out to run for seats. In the case of the numerous controversies during this City Council’s term, a variety of options may be exactly what Amarillo needs.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief