Tarrant County’s two big cities — Arlington and Fort Worth — may have Democratic mayors this Saturday. The big challenge is to persuade Democratic voters that they have a real chance of this election. Go out and vote.
This is the first time in my memory, where Dems are seriously contesting, as they are out to change city leadership from corporate to citizen’s representation. Result of these two elections will set the direction of Tarrant County. Collectively two large cities represent around 62 percent of the county’s population.
Deborah Peoples while carrying the torch of Democratic philosophy for last several years, is now a candidate for Fort Worth Mayor. Ruby Woolridge on the other hand has been a grassroot worker, a door-knocker, a phone-banker, a donor and candidate for three decades in and around Arlington.
Yes, the demographic shift as well as the national mood is expected to propel their candidacy to once unimaginable heights. Yes, Arlington for the first time is posing challenge to big business houses and families. This feel like end of feudalism and rise of peasants to revolutionary levels.
“It feels good that Democrats are organizing against status quo of decades”, says Faith Chatham, a senior and a lifelong Democrat who moved from Arlington to Austin because of lack of public transportation in Arlington. Few others have moved out of Arlington because of senseless and irresponsible gas drilling and related environmental hazards. Harriet Irby, another lifelong Democrat who passed away last year from complications of COPD, is an open indictment of current city council in Arlington. The Democratic tide is up and it has the potential of wiping out the Republican’s decades old control in Arlington. People are just fed up with lack of representation at city council.
If Ruby Woolridge won in Arlington and Deborah Peoples in Fort Worth, it will send seismic waves to the whole nation. Ruby will be the first ever woman to be the mayor of Arlington. I see very good chance of happening both after looking at the early voting data trend. So far, Democrats early voting numbers are at least twice as much as in last local elections.
Will the tide be high enough, next week? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear, Republicans are looking for cover. I have never seen the size and frequency of Mayor literature in previous elections as we see coming from Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. Clearly, he is feeling the pressure.
Mayor Williams is also feeling pressure from within, as Tea Party and the Trumpian wing is not happy with him. His allegedly tacit support for a Democrat ,Dr. Barbara Odem Wesley, on at large seat is not seen as positive news by many in far right. Of course, Republican candidates in this race won’t be happy about it.
One of the problem GOP is facing in this election is that this is a new environment for them. They are not used to a competitive election cycle in Arlington. Number of good Democratic candidates in an increasingly blue county has unnerved their leadership. It looks like Arlington district 3 candidate Marvin Sutton will easily win the seat from incumbent Roxanne Thalman. The district is 68 percent Democratic and Marvin this time is out door-knocking from the first day.
Options for Republicans are not very good this year. Dr. Nunez in district five has two opponents who are fighting for the same small pot of Republican voters where the Democratic candidate has a real chance of winning it outright.
Sunday morning next week, we will see results of this year contest. But one thing is clear, Democrats are on the rise and will have a major contest in 2020 for the color of Tarrant County. This year in Arlington, the color will not be dark, neither blue nor red.