State District 10 Democratic Sen. Beverly Powell is withdrawing from the November ballot just one month after the March primaries.
The 70-year-old senator from Burleson suspended her re-election campaign on April 6 after a court denied her motion for injunctive relief for the newly redistricted state maps ahead of the November 2022 elections. In a video announcement shared on her social media channels, the state senator said the latest court decision will lead to predetermined results on Election Day in November.
“It’s clear to most everyone that the drastic gerrymandered map of SD-10 was a calculated effort to dilute the voting strength of the minority population,” Powell, who served one term in the House, told the Fort Worth Report.
Minority voting rights in District 10 have been under attack since the mid-2000s, Powell said in her statement. Senate District 10 was redrawn in October 2021.
Powell’s withdrawal from the race makes current state Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, the sole candidate on the ballot, all but guaranteeing his victory in November. He won the Republican nomination against Warren Norred in March.
“State Sen. Beverly Powell’s announcement today was certainly unexpected, and I wish her the best in her future endeavors,” King said in a statement to the Report. “I am very excited to represent the eight counties of Senate District 10. In advance of the November election and the next legislative session, I will continue to meet with voters to seek their input and earn their trust. I intend to hit the ground running and fulfill the commitment I made to serve as a strong and effective conservative voice for this district.”
Powell said she could not ask her supporters to continue to contribute resources and money to a race she described as unwinnable.
“I think that most people of good conscience realize that in a situation like that, knowing that I was elected by a coalition of diverse voters, my ability to prevail is non-existent,” Powell told the Report. “And I don’t think it’s good for the party. I don’t think it’s good for the state of Texas in any way, shape, form, or fashion.”
The seat has long been a battleground between Democrats and Republicans because of the changing demographics of Tarrant County. The last Republican elected official to hold the seat was Konni Burton, who lost to Powell in 2018.
Although the current maps are favorable to Republicans, it’s still possible Tarrant County could eventually turn blue as the county continues to face demographic changes amid rapid growth, Carlos Rovelo, a history and government professor at Tarrant County College, said.
“There has been a shift in the way some of these senatorial districts have been more appealing to progressive voters. So the mapping, the redistricting is to fight back that,” Rovelo said.
“Knowing that there is tremendous growth in population driven by minorities, people of color, people coming from other states with more progressive ideas that will challenge the might of the majority of the Republicans. So the way you do it, you create maps, where you pretty much define who gets to the ballot.”
The race for District 10 attracted large sums of money and donors like Hillwood Chairman Ross Perot Jr., Texas Gun Rights PAC, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas PAC.
District 10 used to include most of south Fort Worth and parts of northeast Tarrant County, with cities like Colleyville, Southlake and Bedford. Under the new map, District 10 now includes several rural, mostly white counties to the south and west of Fort Worth. This includes Johnson, Parker, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Shackelford, Callahan and Brown counties.
“Tarrant County, with its population growth and highly diverse neighborhoods, has gone the way of counties like Harris and Travis, with each urban county being cut into slivers and inappropriately grouped with rural counties to drown out the voices of urban voters,” Allison Campolo, Tarrant County Democratic Party chair, said.
Following the completion of her term in January 2023, the former Burleson ISD and Texas Wesleyan University trustee said she will focus her current and future efforts on the redistricting case set to be heard in late September and on restoring minority voting rights. The upcoming court case would not change the November ballot.
She also said public education and workforce development remain top priorities.
“We have work left to be done in the Legislature. We have interim committees that will meet and legislation to continue. And so we’re going to be focused on those things that move Tarrant County forward,” she said.
Fort Worth Report fellow Sandra Sadek may be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.