Five Arlington City Council races are on the May 9 ballot, with a total of 16 candidates.
They’re all overshadowed by the only one that’s a pivotal contest, and it’s a big one: the race for mayor.
Robert Cluck, 76, Arlington’s mayor for 12 years, is running for another two-year term.
Cluck has three opponents, but one stands above the rest as a close challenger: Jeff Williams, 55, a longtime community volunteer and president of a large local civil engineering firm.
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It’s the first run for public office for Williams.
Despite his leadership on civic affairs, which has included heading committees that helped pass city and school bond elections, and his firm’s role in aiding the construction of such Arlington landmarks as AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, this is a big step.
He proudly displays a list of supporters that includes many prominent names, including current and former elected officials and community and business leaders.
But to succeed he has to roll over Cluck, who can point to a string of successes for Arlington while he’s been mayor and the value of his experience at City Hall.
Cluck is a physician and an administrator at Arlington Memorial Hospital. He served two terms on the City Council before being elected mayor in 2003.
Cluck and Williams typically would draw political support from the same circle of Arlington leaders. The current contest obviously pushes people to choose sides.
Williams says Arlington has become “stagnant,” that developers bypass it for cities like Frisco and Grapevine, that it’s time to “renew our energy.”
It’s a well-packaged campaign to run against a longtime incumbent. But it falls short.
Arlington will always face stiff competition for economic development. Some other cities might have more money to throw at some projects (like Frisco recently did for the Dallas Cowboys training facility), but Arlington is far from being counted out.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Robert Cluck for mayor of Arlington. Likewise, the board recommends re-electing City Council members Robert Rivera, Kathryn Wilemon, Lana Wolff and Michael Glaspie Sr.