Fort Worth

Money poured into heated Fort Worth City Council races, reports show

Carlos Flores spent more money in the runoff race with Steve Thornton for Fort Worth City Council District 2.
Carlos Flores spent more money in the runoff race with Steve Thornton for Fort Worth City Council District 2.

Fort Worth Councilman Carlos Flores, who won the District 2 seat by 97 votes, outspent his opponent Steve Thornton in the days leading up to the June 10 runoff election, newly released campaign finance reports show.

Flores and Thornton squared off after none of the four candidates running for the council seat received more than 50 percent of the vote in the May general election.

According to the reports, Flores received $24,130 in contributions in June, but spent $43,281. His largest donors included Dallas businessman Jorge Baldor, founder of the Latino Center for Leadership Development, or LatinoCLD, who gave $5,000, reports show. Flores also received $2,500 each from developers Tim Fleet in Fort Worth and Mehrdad Moayedi in Farmers Branch, and from Dallas attorney Domingo Garcia.

Carlos Flores
District 2 Councilman Carlos Flores Rick Dalton Handout

Flores also reported a $17,003 in-kind gift from the Fort Worth Police Officers Association. The report does not describe the donation.

Thornton took in $78,609, but spent $10,486, his report shows. The donations came from the Fort Worth Firefighter Committee for Responsible Government of $7,500 in cash and the remaining $71,109 as an in-kind contribution, for such things as software, printing, labor and travel.

Most of Thornton’s campaign support came from the firefighters’ political action committee, reports show. In the prior campaign finance reporting period, Thornton reported the group gave more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind gifts.

Steve Thornton
Fort Worth City Council candidate Steve Thornton Handout

This was Thornton’s second defeat for the office, having lost to then-incumbent Sal Espino in 2015. Thornton reported his campaign coffers are now empty.

Money also flowed in the heated District 3 council race between Brian Byrd and incumbent W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman, reports show. Byrd defeated Zimmerman, 54 percent to 46 percent, in the regular election May 6.

Byrd reported $29,601 in contributions between April 27 and June 30, including $10,000 from the Hurst-based Conservative Voters Forum recorded May 10, and a $15,452 in-kind gift from the Fort Worth Firefighters recorded June 30 for labor and printing. Byrd said he spent $14,110, most of it before election day.

Brian Byrd
District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd Baker, Sandra - Fort Worth Handout

Zimmerman reported receiving $5,375 in April and May, of which $3,000 came from the Betsy Price Campaign. He spent $50,549, of which $49,211 went to his campaign consultant, Murphy Nasica in Austin, leaving $3,587 in his campaign fund.

Price reported having $425,876 in her campaign account at the end of June. Her opponent, Chris Nettles, did not file a report, as required. The reports were due July 17.

Betsy Price camp
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price Handout

Several other candidates also did not file reports, including District 4 Councilman Cary Moon; Tony Perez, who ran for District 2; Johnnie Sanders, a write-in candidate in District 8; Roderick Smith, who ran in District 6; and Bob Willoughby, a write-in candidate for District 5. The candidates could face sanction by the state Ethics Commission if reported.

Atlantic Pacific Communities, a Florida-based developer of tax-credit affordable housing projects, gave $1,000 to Price, and $500 each to Zimmerman, District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, District 7 Councilman Dennis Shingleton, District 8 Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray, and District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh.