A runoff election for the positions of mayor, District 2 representative and Place 6 representative on the Denton city council is set for Dec. 8, with early voting from Nov. 23 through Dec. 4.
No single candidate in these three races received the required 50 percent or more of the vote for their race in the Nov. 3 city council elections.
Looking to succeed incumbent mayor Chris Watts are Gerard Hudspeth, 47, and Keely Briggs, 45, the representatives for District 1 and 2 respectively.
Briggs has represented District 2 since 2015 and has served on the Committee on Citizen Engagement, Community Justice Council and Economic Development Partnership board among other committees. Briggs led in the Nov. 3 election with 48.53 percent of the vote.
“From day one as an elected official, I have made people the focus and have strived to the best of my ability to make this a community that works for all of us,” Briggs said about the support she received. ” Knowing that there are hundreds of people across Denton and from all walks of life contributing their time, talent, voice and financial support to my campaign to be mayor just amazes me and keeps me going in what has been a very long and hard race.”
Briggs said she would foster cooperation with the other six council positions and innovate on what she believes helped her stay “plugged in,” if elected.
“I will have regular town hall meetings, either in person or virtual, across the city and I will have roundtables with our business community and take special care to engage personally with our small business and start-up businesses,” Briggs said. “Beyond that, my personal leadership focus will continue to be on the following: public safety and population health, fiscal responsibility, economic prosperity, small business expansion and attraction, smart growth, environmental stewardship, social fairness, integrated support for our homeless residents and addressing aging infrastructure issues.”
The representative for District 1 since 2017, Hudspeth has sat on the Agenda Committee, the Economic Development Partnership Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission among others. Set to be succeeded by Birdia Johnson, Hudspeth received 41.68 percent of votes in the general election.
“It’s been a long campaign as COVID delayed our May election to November,” Hudspeth said. “I’ve worked to help citizens in need with resources for food banks, unemployment and small businesses get the support they need to save jobs. We are a diverse city but unified in our objectives: safe neighborhoods, low taxes and protecting our quality of life. It will be an honor to serve as Mayor of this great city I grew up in.”
Should he be elected mayor, Hudspeth aims to lower taxes, create new jobs and keep neighborhoods safe.
“I will continue to work to expand the commercial tax base so we can lower taxes on homeowners,” Hudspeth said. “The pandemic has made [creating jobs] even more important, with so many out of work and local businesses struggling. Additionally, UNT and TWU provide incredible assets to create entrepreneur incubators to help our local businesses thrive and create excellent career development for students.”
With five candidates, the race for Brigg’s current seat was the most crowded of the city council elections. Going into runoff are Ronnie Anderson, 53, and Connie Baker, 75.
Baker, a retired Denton Constable with 25 years of law enforcement experience, took the lead with 28.65 percent of the vote.
“It’s been great,” Baker said. “I’m glad everybody got out and voted. Now if they’d vote in the second, we’ll all be good.”
If elected, Baker’s political platform will focus on job growth and lowering taxes.
“I’ll get the economy back up and going,” Baker said. “Protect jobs, keep our town going.”
Anderson, an administrator for the Denton County Clerk’s Office, trailed closely behind Baker with 28.18 percent of the vote.
“I’m very happy and pleased with the support I’ve received during this campaign,” Anderson said. “I’ve met and spoken to a lot of new people that I didn’t know before. Talking and interacting with the residents about their concerns is what I enjoy and that is what I will continue to do as the next city council member.”
For his policy goals, Anderson cited his time on the Planning and Zoning, Denton Bail Bond Board and Denton County Records Management Advisory committees.
“I will be a proactive representative that looks at future development plans and work on the infrastructure before all the development starts, and not be reactive,” Anderson said. “If you live in District 2 you know how bad the intersection of FM428 and Loop 288 is. I hate to say it but It’s going to be getting worse once the new developments are built out. This is what I’m talking about when I say I want to be a proactive representative. The city knows the developments are coming. I would like to be the leader that works on the roads before the developments are built to alleviate all the traffic congestion.”
At Large Place 6
Vying for At Large Place 6 are incumbent Paul Meltzer, 59, and Jim Mann, 51.
Meltzer has held the office of Place 6 since 2018, having previous experience in the field of telecommunications and product executive. He led the Place 6 race with 44.89 of the vote.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from people who are aware there’s a runoff — wanting to contribute and get yard signs and volunteer to get the word out that people need to come back to the polls to defend our priorities,” Meltzer said. “We want students to get those votes in before they head home and not allow the clock to be turned back on tolerance in Denton. You can make a very real difference with your voice.”
Meltzer looks to sustain economic growth, protect Denton’s artistic community and continue to keep the local community engaged in government.
“I’ve been an engaged community volunteer serving Denton for years,” Meltzer said. “That’s not going to change.”
Mann, a Denton native and lead pastor at New Life Church, is also an associate professor of New Testament at Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity. He took home 42.36 percent of the vote.
“It is incredibly difficult to beat an incumbent, especially one who receives favorable press coverage from the local paper,” Meltzer said. “So for my campaign to come within three percentage points of him was an amazing feat. I’m very proud of our effort and hard work. Now it’s overtime and a big push to the finish.”
If elected, Mann aims to keep taxes low, respect private property and support local enforcement and firefighters.
“I will immediately begin reaching out to non-profits, with whom I have great relationships, and start digging into the homelessness issue in Denton,” Mann said. “I’d also like to explore opportunities for finding a permanent home for the Texas Veterans Museum.”
As with other elections in Texas, prior registration with a political party is not required.
Locations and voting times for both election day and early voting have yet to be released. They will be posted on the Vote Denton website after Wednesday’s Logic and Accuracy Test, according to Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Philips.
Courtesy City of Denton, Twitter