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Mattie Parker has declared victory in the runoff to become Fort Worth mayor.
Parker, a former top city staffer, led with 54% of the vote Saturday night to 47% for opponent Deborah Peoples, according to unofficial results. Until recently, Peoples served as the chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and is a former AT&T executive.
Parker’s election, which she noted Saturday makes her the youngest mayor of any major U.S. city, marks political continuity for Fort Worth, the state’s fifth most populous city. She is the former chief of staff to the current mayor, Betsy Price, who is retiring and had endorsed Parker to succeed her.
Price is one of the few remaining Republicans in charge of a large American city, and Parker also considers herself a Republican. But both she and Peoples sought to downplay their party affiliations as they ran for the nonpartisan office, talking about middle-of-the-road issues and unifying the city.
Parker echoed that message in her victory speech Saturday.
“In Fort Worth, we’re gonna embrace positive policies and consensus building with ferocity,” Parker said, noting that she had spoken to Peoples prior to taking the stage. Peoples conceded shortly before 10 p.m., the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, got involved late in the runoff, endorsing Parker on Wednesday and criticizing Peoples’ positions on law enforcement. Peoples had high-profile endorsements from some of the state’s best-known Democrats, including Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke.
Peoples, whose election would have made her Fort Worth’s first Black mayor, was the top finisher in the initial May 1 election, which featured 10 candidates total. In that race, Peoples got 34% of the vote, while Parker received 31%.
Peoples first ran for the job in 2019 and gave Price her first real challenge but still lost by double digits. She and other Democrats had been hoping to capitalize on shifting political trends inside Tarrant County, which went blue at the top of the ticket in the past two statewide elections.
Megan Munce contributed to this report.