The race for Fort Worth City Council is officially on and features many unfamiliar faces.
Friday marked the deadline to file to run in Fort Worth’s upcoming municipal election. For the next two months, 27 candidates will campaign in contested races to earn a spot on council.
Of the candidates in contested races, 23 are not incumbents. The candidates will vie for one of 11 seats, two more than in previous election cycles.
Despite the expanded City Council districts created through Fort Worth’s redistricting process 11 months ago, candidates will grapple with a familiar set of issues: Public safety, growth and economic development have already emerged as key talking points as candidates ramp up their campaign messaging.
Municipal elections are coming up. Here are some key dates:
April 6: Last day to register to vote
April 24: Early voting begins
May 2: Early voting ends
May 6: Election Day
Two new seats — in District 10 and 11 — were created through the redistricting process. The change had a ripple effect, moving council member Alan Blaylock’s home from District 4, which he currently represents, to District 10 where he will run in May.
District 11, which includes parts of southeast and central Fort Worth, will be the most crowded race with five candidates filing to put their name on the ballot. The race for the district changed close to the filing deadline when Cristal Galvan, a business owner and philanthropist, announced she was dropping out, citing “a conflict that is out of her control” in a statement. She also announced her support for Jeanette Martinez in the statement.
Martinez, an executive administrator for County Commissioner Roy Brooks, previously told the Report in October she was no longer planning to run for the seat but applied for a place on the ballot Feb. 17.
“I am very disappointed to have this conflict crop up,” said Galvan in the statement. “I am thrilled to know, however, that an excellent candidate has stepped forward to run. Jeanette Martinez today filed her paperwork to run and I have enthusiastically endorsed her.”
The race in District 7, which includes parts of northwest Fort Worth and crucially the cultural district, was disrupted when sitting council member Leonard Firestone announced he would not be running for a second term. Three candidates have filed to compete for that seat.
Despite the shake-up of council seats, three incumbent council members are running unopposed.
The Fort Worth Report has compiled a list of all City Council candidates running for election in the May 2023 race. These are the candidates as of the filing deadline.
- Adrian Smith, veteran
- Alyson Kennedy, cashier and activist
- Jennifer Castillo, an entrepreneur and Realtor
- Ken Bowens Jr., entrepreneur
- Incumbent Mattie Parker
- Bob Willoughby, frequent speaker at city meetings
- Incumbent Gyna Bivens, president of North Texas Lead
- William McKinley Jackson, pastor
- Italia De La Cruz, small business owner
- Incumbent Jared Williams, nonprofit executive
- Tonya Carter, customer service worker
- Chris Reed, software developer
- Incumbent Elizabeth Beck, lawyer
- Jason Peña, business owner
- Pamela Boggess, attorney
- Christopher Johnson, entrepreneur
- Jeanette Martinez, administrator
- Ricardo Avitia, neighborhood activist
- Rick Herring, neighborhood advocate and retirement adviser
- Tara Maldonado Wilson, an emergency room nurse and small business owner
- Incumbent Carlos Flores, engineer
- Incumbent Michael Crain, real estate broker
- Incumbent Chris Nettles, pastor