The leftist activist group United Fort Worth, which organized the failed protests to pressure the City of Fort Worth into suing to block Texas’ sanctuary cities law, is making good on their promise to challenge city council members.
According to sources, UFW has either successfully recruited or backed candidates currently running for seats on the city council: Debra Peoples against current Mayor Betsy Price, Tristeza Ordez-Ramirez against District 4 Councilman Cary Moon, Leigh Dunn against District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, Chris Nettles and Brian Dixon are challenging District 8 Councilwoman Kelly Allen Grey, and it’s reported that District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens also faces a challenger. Thus far no challengers have been recruited against District 2 Councilman Carlos Flores or District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd. In a public announcement on their Facebook page, UFW is asking for applicants to challenge current District 6 Councilman Jungus Jordan.
In regards to challenging Councilman Jordan, the group is calling for unity and wants a clear and contrasted election fight between two candidates. They’re hoping to avoid “splitting the vote,” which occurred when three candidates opposed Jordan’s re-election bid in 2017. Jordan handily won with 62 percent of the vote, with less than 3 percent voter turnout.
UFW argues that because District 6’s is a “POC” (Person of Color) majority district, they want someone who won’t have the same “absence of equitable leadership” that Jordan has provided. This “absence” includes Jordan’s opposition to Fort Worth joining the lawsuit against SB 4, his vote against renaming Jefferson Davis Park, and his vote in favor of a “Race Task Force.”
Since the SB 4 fight last year, UFW has been organizing and becoming a regular presence in Fort Worth City Council politics and reportedly will be making a play for the Fort Worth School Board elections as well, with board members Judy Needham and Ann Sutherland not seeking re-election. The election this May will be a test of just how influential United Fort Worth has become.
Last year, Fort Worth City Council approved a city property tax rate at just above the Effective Tax Rate, a significant change in direction for the city in favor of taxpayers. If Fort Worth taxpayers want this trend to continue, they would be wise to begin organizing themselves as well to counter United Fort Worth and move to make the city council more fiscally responsible. UFW-backed candidates are unlikely to be concerned about high property tax burdens.
As UFW stated, these local elections have very low turnout; every single vote will count. Election Day is May 4, 2019.