In the June 5 runoff, Fort Worth citizens will decide whether the city establishment will have another term in power or if Democrats seeking to turn Texas blue will get a council majority.
Of the five seats on the runoff ballot, three of them could decide the direction of Fort Worth’s city government in the post-Mayor Betsy Price era. One race in particular could lead council to be more citizen-orientated.
In the race for mayor, citizens face the choice of former Price chief of staff Mattie Parker and former Tarrant County Democrat Party Chair Deborah Peoples. The candidates are backed by different forces—one by Democrats, the other by the top of the city establishment and Republicans—and have faced questions regarding their past. They differ on key issues such as election integrity and defunding police.
Peoples is backed by former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, defund police activists, and leftist organizations. Turning Texas into a Democrat state is a key objective of her campaign. “Turning Fort Worth blue is the key to turning Texas blue,” read her campaign emails.
Parker, endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott and outgoing Mayor Betsy Price, is backed by attorney Dee Kelly Jr.’s faction of the Fort Worth establishment, which comprises members from the top of the city’s pyramid of power. Also among Parker’s endorsements are Tarrant County GOP Chair Rick Barnes and State Rep. Craig Goldman (R–Fort Worth).
Despite Peoples’ campaign of wanting to “unite us into one Fort Worth,” screenshots surfaced of divisive social media posts allegedly from her; among them was a call to boycott white-owned restaurants in the city. Peoples did not respond to questions regarding these posts.
Parker’s husband is a lobbyist for Longbow Partners, which in 2014 signed a one-year contract to work as the city government’s taxpayer-funded lobbyists. Parker said
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