Amarillo will be seeing a new mayor take office in May 2023.
On Thursday morning, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson announced that she would not be seeking a fourth term in office in 2023. The announcement, posted to her Facebook page, included a list of accomplishments, such as the establishment of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine. Her announcement followed months of speculation that Nelson would not be seeking another term.
Nelson’s departure from office comes after a recent string of defeats for the controversial incumbent. In 2020, voters soundly defeated her push for a bond to fund construction on a new Amarillo Civic Center project, as well as a ballot initiative she spearheaded to extend the terms of office for her city council. This year, Nelson’s second push to issue debt for the civic center, this time through the use of tax anticipation notes, was challenged in district court by local businessman Alex Fairly. The district court eventually ruled the issuance of the debt to have been illegal and invalidated the debt issuance, effectively ending Nelson’s second attempt to fund a civic center rebuild with taxpayer-funded debt.
This year also saw Nelson sign a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott advocating for stricter gun control in Texas following the shooting at a Uvalde school. The move came as part of Nelson’s recent shift to the left, during which the City of Amarillo agreed to the removal of a Confederate war memorial in Amarillo’s Ellwood Park.
With Nelson’s departure, attention has quickly turned to who might run to replace her. At the moment, Fairly has been touted as one of the leading potential contenders, although he has repeatedly said he does not want the job. Still, local citizens are leading a draft effort in hopes of convincing him to enter the race. In addition, Councilwoman Freda Powell—a mortuary manager and one of Nelson’s most loyal lieutenants—has been rumored as a possible candidate.
Filing for the ballot will begin in January.