On Saturday night, Amarillo voters made their decisions in some important races for the future of the Panhandle.

First, for the Amarillo City Council, voters elected City Councilman Cole Stanley to be the city’s next mayor. Stanley won 75 percent of the vote, defeating City Councilwoman Freda Powell, who received 18 percent of the vote. The remaining four candidates in the race received 7 percent.

For Amarillo City Council Place 1, voters advanced firefighter Josh Craft and realtor Dean Crump to a runoff to succeed Stanley. Craft received 43 percent of the vote, while Crump received 33 percent. Rounding out the field, insurance claims analyst Kelsey Richardson received 10 percent, pastor Margie Gonzales received 6 percent, antique store owner Chip Hunt received 5 percent, forklift operator Sherie Wood received 2 percent, and retiree Ray White received 1 percent.

In the race for City Council Place 2, insurance broker Don Tipps won the race outright to replace Powell. Tipps won 84 percent of the vote, while Amarillo ISD employee Misty Vigil won 9 percent, and Gabriel McHenry-Herrera, a commercial teller, won 7 percent.

For City Council Place 3, retired business executive Tom Scherlen won the election to replace Councilman Eddy Sauer after losing to Sauer two years ago. Scherlen won 58 percent of the vote, while Katt Massey, a beautification activist and former assistant to Mayor Ginger Nelson, won 34 percent. John Adair, a retired dirt bike racer, rounded out the field with 7 percent of the vote.

Voters also sent two candidates to a runoff for Amarillo City Council Place 4, in the race to replace retiring Councilman Howard Smith. Les Simpson, a former newspaper publisher and journalist, led the field with 44 percent of the vote and will be joined in the runoff by Claudette Smith, a former paralegal who previously ran for mayor in 2019 and 2021. Smith won 24 percent of the vote and was trailed by former Parks and Recreation Board Chairman John Ingerson and veteran Hobert Brown, who received 18 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

The runoff elections for Places 1 and 4 on the city council will take place on Saturday, June 24.

For the Amarillo College Board of Regents, voters returned both incumbents who were seeking re-election and sent a new face to the board. Incumbents Jay L. Barrett and Michele Fortunato both won another six-year term on the board, winning 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Irene Hughes, a former counselor at Amarillo College, won the third seat on the board with 22 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, for the Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees, voters ousted the two incumbents who were seeking re-election and added a group of new faces to the board. Retired journalist Jon Mark Beilue, business owner and Amarillo Matters board member Steve Trafton, and conservative activist Connie Brown all won seats on the board of regents. Meanwhile, incumbents Kimberly Anderson and Dick Ford both lost re-election after finishing their first term on the board.

For seats on the Canyon ISD Board of Trustees, voters re-elected incumbents Paul Blake and Katharyn Wiegand, and two new trustees were elected. Laurie Gilliland and Casey Posey both won their elections for open seats, bringing two new faces to the board of trustees.

Finally, in Amarillo’s Highland Park ISD, voters passed two major bond items. First, voters passed Highland Park Proposition A, which authorizes the issuance of $129 million in bonds for several new construction projects. Voters backed Proposition A, 53-47 percent.

Voters also approved Proposition B, which funds $1 million in debt issuances for technology upgrades. The proposition passed, 55-45 percent.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.