It’s out with the old and in with the new in Keller.
Mayor Pat McGrail, who has led Keller since 2007, was soundly beaten by challenger Mark Mathews during Saturday’s municipal election, signaling a change in the city of 42,000.
McGrail had called this year’s council race a “watershed election” as candidates debated the city’s future and how it should grow.
Mathews, a business owner who has said he wanted to bring new leadership to the council and be a representative for residents, won with 54 percent of the vote to McGrail’s 46 percent.
“It’s still sinking in that it’s over and it came out the way I was looking for,” Mathews said. “There was a pretty good turnout, too, compared to some elections of the past, and I think all candidates did a good job of getting people informed and engaged on issues in Keller.”
He said his first order of business will be to talk with residents and move in the right direction.
“Throughout this whole process I wanted to listen to people and learn what’s going on with the citizens,” Mathews said.
Two council candidates aligned with McGrail, Place 5 incumbent John Hoffman and Place 6 candidate Ken Lewis, also lost.
Bill Hodnett beat Hoffman, 56 percent to 44 percent; in Place 6, Rick Barnes beat Lewis, 57 percent to 43 percent. Doug Miller chose not run for re-election in Place 6.
Trophy Club will have a new mayor with Nick Sanders, beating incumbent Connie White by 16 percent of the votes.
Sanders served as mayor of Trophy Club from 2006 to 2009 before White took over. Sanders, the CEO of a computer company, said he will step down as vice president of the Municipal Utility District to fulfill his role as mayor. He won with 58 percent of votes to White’s 42 percent.
Sanders said he was “feeling wonderful” late Saturday night at his celebration party with fellow candidate Jim Parrow and other MUD candidates.
“I think the citizens were ready for council and a mayor that would really listen to them,” Sanders said. “I pledge to do that.”
Sanders said he is grateful for the support of the MUD directors and looks forward to furthering a cohesive environment between the two organizations. His first order of business in office is to institute a citizens’ round table with open discussions.
“It would be something where council and staff met periodically with groups of citizens who had concerns,” he said. “It would be an open environment with dialogue where we can problem solve together and make sure to do what the citizens want to do.”
He said it will be a “new day” in Trophy Club as the different entities continue to work together.
Place one candidate Jim Parrow, a real estate company owner and broker, defeated his opponent, geophysicist Larry Hoover, by 26 percent of the votes. Parrow won with 63 percent of votes to Hoover’s 37 percent.
Trophy Club MUD
Two incumbents for the Trophy Club Municipal Utility District will keep their seats on the board.
Place 3 incumbent Kevin Carr beat with 60 percent of votes to Glenn Strother's 40 percent. Carr has been on the board for 14 years.
Jim Hase beat Place 4 incumbent Bill Armstrong 56 percent to 44 percent.
Place 5 incumbent Jim Thomas beat Steven Pallas with 69 percent of the vote.
In Haslet, Place 3 incumbent Kathy Hopper, 55, held off challenger Candy Letica, 64, with 59.3 percent of the vote to Letica’s 40.7.
In Place 5, Richard Groesch, 40, received 40.3 percent of the vote while fellow challenger Doug Horak, 51, was second with 34.7 percent. Incumbent Patrick Richey, 61, the city’s longest-tenured council member was third with 25 percent.
Place 1 incumbent Warren Robb, 70, was uncontested in his re-election bid.
Semi-rural Haslet, which is surrounded on all sides by high-growth portions of far north Fort Worth, faces the challenge of trying to spur commercial growth while attempting to limit residential growth to homes on lots of a half-acre in size or larger. An Amazon fulfillment city recently opened in this city of 1,600.
Correspondent Mark Wright contributed to this report.