The Amarillo Pioneer

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Previewing Texas' Top Mayoral Contests

Amarillo is hosting its mayoral and city council elections this Saturday, but it won’t be the only city in the state to hold its elections. While many cities hold their elections in even-numbered years, or in November of odd-numbered years, a number of cities will be holding their municipal elections on Saturday night. Here is a look at some of the top mayoral races across the state as all eyes are on Texas.


Three candidates will enter the arena on Saturday night, looking to occupy the elusive office on the third floor of Amarillo City Hall. Mayor Ginger Nelson, a first-term incumbent and attorney, will be looking to fend off a challenge from Kip Billups and Claudette Smith. Billups is an Amarillo activist who was arrested after Nelson had him removed from a City Council meeting last year, while Smith is a local activist who made headlines after filing a lawsuit against the incumbent council in 2018, alleging violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. This race is for a two year term.

In 2017, Nelson was elected with 79 percent of the vote, defeating Jim F. Lowder and Renea Dauntes in that contest. Lowder, then-chairman of the Potter County Republican Party, and Dauntes, a photo archivist, earned 16 percent and 5 percent, respectively.


Incumbent Mayor Jeff Williams will be looking for re-election in Arlington on Saturday night, facing newcomer challengers Ruby Faye Woolridge and Ashton Stauffer. Chris Dobson, who challenged Williams in 2017’s mayoral election, will also be seeking the office. In 2017, Dobson earned about 29 percent of the vote, versus 71 percent for Williams.

In this year’s contest, Stauffer, a restaurant owner, has waged a strong bid against Williams, scheduling events with conservative celebrities like Joe Apraio to promote her campaign. Woolridge’s campaign, meanwhile, has focused on issues like transportation services in Arlington.


Mayor Mike Rawlings is retiring in Dallas, leaving a field of nine candidates looking to take his seat. State Representative Eric Johnson (D-Dallas), school board member Miguel Solis, philanthropist Lynn McBee, attorney Regina Montoya, former State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), City Councilman Scott Griggs, socialist activist Alyson Kennedy, developer Mike Ablon, and businessman Albert Black are seeking the seat in the contest. Most pundits have predicted this race will likely head to a runoff, although it is unclear who might advance from the crowded field.

San Antonio

Mayor Ron Nirenberg is seeking a second term in San Antonio’s top office, but eight challengers are looking for the chance to take his job. Tim Atwood, Greg Brockhouse, Carlos Castanuela, Bert Cecconi, Antonio Diaz, Michael Idrogo, Matt Pina, and John Velasquez are seeking to oust Nirenberg. Nirenberg previously served as a City Councilman in San Antonio and won his first term on the job in 2017, ousting then-Mayor Ivy R. Taylor.

Most pundits have figured Nirenberg’s top challenge will likely come from Councilman Greg Brockhouse, an advocate for unions in the city. Brockhouse has benefited from support from the fire union in San Antonio, as Nirenberg has also drawn criticism from some for the city’s recent handling of an incident with a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in a local airport. However, Nirenberg is casting himself on the campaign trail as a candidate who will be pro-job creation, but anti-crime.

The first set of results in these contests should be available Saturday night. Any runoffs, if necessary, will be held on June 8th.

Photo by MarketWatch

Photo by MarketWatch

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