Local elections in Texas are nominally non-partisan – but that didn’t stop the Texas Democrat Party from openly endorsing 34 city and school candidates statewide in the May local elections.

Most failed, but four of the endorsed Democrats made it into runoff elections. Two of those runoff races, being decided on June 10, are in conservative Collin County.

All the Democrats were helped by TDP’s Project LIFT (Local Investment in the Future of Texas), a program to “recruit, train, and support” progressive Democrats running for local office. The state’s Republican Party isn’t typically active in non-partisan local races.

In all four runoffs, the Project LIFT candidates barely finished second in three-way races.

In the Plano City Council Place 2 runoff, top finisher Anthony Ricciardelli is facing TDP-endorsed progressive Democrat Ann Bacchus. Ricciardelli earned 46 percent of the vote in the May 6 election. Ricciardelli, who’s running on a platform of keeping Plano suburban, is endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and several local conservative organizations.

Bacchus finished with just 28 percent of the vote – well behind front-runner Ricciardelli and barely ahead of the third-place candidate’s 26 percent. Bacchus, a Democrat precinct chair, has received over $17,000 in donations from the Keep Plano Winning PAC – a group funded by many of the same special-interest apartment developers that backed Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere.

In Allen, City Council Place 2 candidate Carl Clemencich topped Democrat Party-endorsed Tabassum Ahmad 43 percent to 30 percent in the May 6 election. Shirley Mangrum ran a close third at 27 percent; Mangrum has since endorsed Clemencich in the runoff election.

Ahmad was among the first round of progressive local candidates enrolled in TDP’s Project LIFT program. Participation appeared to benefit her campaign, which featured colorful signage blanketing the city and an organized get-out-the-vote effort.

All the runoff candidates are continuing to campaign assertively through Election Day.

Collin County’s Election Day vote centers will be open on Saturday, June 10, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eligible Allen and Plano voters can vote at any polling location in the county.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.