Republicans fear they could lose one of their last big-city mayors' offices in Texas: report

On Saturday, POLITICO profiled the mayoral runoff underway in Fort Worth, Texas — and why Republicans fear the consequences of potentially losing the election.

While the race is formally nonpartisan, the parties are clearly taking sides, with Republicans lining up behind Mattie Parker, the former chief of staff to outgoing GOP mayor Betsy Price, and Democrats backing former AT&T executive Democrat Deborah Peoples. Not only would Peoples be Fort Worth's first Black mayor if she wins, it would also flip one of the last large cities in America to have a Republican mayor. In fact, Fort Worth is the second-largest city controlled by a Republican mayor; only Jacksonville, Florida is larger.

More than that, it would be another sign that politics are changing in Fort Worth in ways that are loosening Republicans' grip on the Lone Star State — where every other city larger than 500,000 people already has either a Democratic or Democratic-endorsed independent mayor.

"What happens in Tarrant County is closely watched, both inside and outside the state," wrote Maya King. "Once a Republican stronghold, Tarrant has seen its GOP margins decline in recent years — President Joe Biden's narrow victory there in November marked the first time in over a half-century that a Democratic presidential nominee carried the county. If the county continues to move leftward, it stands to affect the balance of power in statewide elections." Tarrant County GOP chair Rick Barnes is warning, "There's a great concern here that if you end up with a Democrat mayor, it will change what people know Fort Worth to be."

According to the report, Gov. Greg Abbott is making a last minute push to save the race for Republicans: "In an interview with the Star-Telegram, Abbott described Peoples' reform-oriented stance on policing as 'along the lines of taking a position of defunding the police.' He and other state Republicans have sought to paint her as an opponent of law enforcement."

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