The ballot has been finalized, and 23 candidates are hoping to earn their way onto the Amarillo City Council this May.

With filing now closed for the May Amarillo City Council elections, voters will have 23 candidates to choose from to fill the city council’s five vacant seats. All seats are up for grabs this year, with three incumbents retiring and two others leaving their positions to run for mayor.

Six candidates are running to replace the retiring incumbent mayor, Ginger Nelson. Amarillo City Councilmembers Freda Powell and Cole Stanley are running to replace Nelson, and they are joined in the field by life coach Jeff McGunegle, TikTok influencer Tonya “Lady Butterscotch” Winston, retiree Don Collins, and truck driver Sam Burnett.

In the mayoral race, the two individuals who were most rumored as candidates for the office—businessman Alex Fairly and former Canyon ISD Trustee Tim Reid—did not file to run. Fairly ruled himself out as a candidate days before the filing deadline, while Reid ultimately did not opt to file.

For city council, Place 1, seven candidates have filed to run for Stanley’s seat. These candidates include business owner Dean Crump, Amazon employee Sherie Lynn Wood, pastor Margie Gonzales, retiree Ray White, claims analyst Kelsey Richardson, firefighter Josh Craft, and antique dealer Chip Hunt.

In the race to take Powell’s Place 2 seat, three candidates have filed to run: insurance broker Don Tipps, commercial teller Gabriel McHenry-Herrera, and Amarillo ISD employee Misty Vigil.

For city council, Place 3, three candidates have lined up to replace incumbent Eddy Sauer. Former Austin Hose CEO Tom Scherlen is running again for the seat again, after first running against Sauer in 2021. This year, Scherlen is joined in the race by retiree John Adair and Katt Massey, the former assistant to Mayor Nelson.

Finally, four candidates have filed to run for Amarillo City Council, Place 4, in hopes of replacing retiring incumbent Howard Smith. Former Amarillo Globe-News publisher Les Simpson, retired Marine Hobert “Gunny” Brown, former Amarillo Parks and Recreation Board president John Ingerson, and Claudette Smith, a paralegal and former two-time mayoral candidate, are running for this seat.

With the field now set, voters are guaranteed to see their first all-new composition of the city council in six years, when voters ousted two incumbents to elect an all-new Amarillo City Council in 2017.

Election Day is May 6.

Thomas Warren

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