Fort Worth

Race for Fort Worth council District 4 nets nearly $200,000

Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray is running for re-election in Fort Worth City Council District 8.
Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray is running for re-election in Fort Worth City Council District 8. Courtesy

The race to represent east and far north Fort Worth is netting big dollars, with Councilman Danny Scarth showing $98,977 in the bank to ward off political newcomer Cary Moon, who has raised $76,056.

The campaign finance reports, filed Thursday, show that the District 4 seat is attracting the most money of the five contested City Council races.

Scarth, running for a sixth term, raised only $4,400 from Jan. 15 to Wednesday, so most of his war chest is made up of previous donations. He had spent $12,672 and had accepted no loans.

Moon’s report, which covers Jan. 1 to March 31, shows that he loaned himself $6,619, spent $15,508 and had $16,298 in the bank.

The largest chunk of Moon’s $76,056 in contributions came from the Fort Worth Police Officers Association Political Action Committee, which gave $49,781 in in-kind donations of signs, literature, campaign management and voter turnout services. The Fort Worth Firefighters Association gave Moon $10,000, and the Fort Worth Retired Firefighters and Widows donated $5,000.

Scarth’s financial backers included businessman Ed Bass, Stockyards businessman Brad Hickman and Tarrant Regional Water District board member Marty Leonard.

Moon, a developer and businessman who lives in the Heritage area of far north Fort Worth, is challenging Scarth, one of the longest-serving council members and the executive director of Hope Media, who lives in east Fort Worth’s Woodhaven area.

The other contested races:

▪ Steve Thornton challenging Mayor Pro Tem Sal Espino in District 2.

▪ Bob Willoughby challenging Councilwoman Gyna Bivens in District 5.

▪ Andy Gallagher challenging Councilman Dennis Shingleton in District 7.

▪ And Sharon Mason-Ford challenging Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray in District 8.

The election is May 9, and early voting begins April 27.

District 2

Espino, seeking his sixth term, raised $56,425 between Jan. 1 and March 31. He spent $19,966. Espino loaned himself $5,000 and had $46,442 in the bank.

Espino’s financial backers included Stockyards businessmen Hub Baker, Concho Minick and Hickman. Other donors included the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association PAC, Bass, the Bass family’s Good Government Fund and another Bass family PAC, PSEL.

Politicians donating to Espino included U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s campaign, former Mayor Mike Moncrief’s campaign, Mayor Betsy Price’s campaign, Fort Worth school board Trustee Tobi Jackson and Justice of the Peace Sergio De Leon.

Thornton, a retired firefighter and financial planner, has raised $5,250 — $5,000 of it from the Fort Worth Retired Firefighters Committee for Responsible Government. He has also loaned the campaign $15,100 and has spent $12,983.

Thornton said he is running to bring a fresh perspective to City Hall, warning against sticking with the status quo. His priorities are to focus on roads in disrepair, to improve the city’s involvement in education and to bring attention to the north side.

District 5

Bivens, running for a second term, raised $26,374 from Jan. 1 to March 30 and spent $14,553. She had $27,999 in the bank.

Her financial backers included the PAC for Cash America, a national pawnshop operator and payday lender based in Fort Worth, which gave $300. The Freese and Nichols PAC, the Bell Helicopter PAC, Bass and the Bass family’s Good Government Fund also donated.

Politicians who donated included former Mayor Kenneth Barr, Fort Worth school board member Christene Moss, Moncrief, Leonard, Granger’s campaign and Bill Meadows, chairman of the high-speed-rail commission.

Willoughby, who works in merchandising at AT&T Stadium, does not have to file a campaign finance report because he has not raised more than $500, according to the city secretary’s office.

Willoughby had a run-in with the Fort Worth code compliance department over repeated violations and said he is running to bring new ideas to the council, including changing rules to give residents more time to address code violations and switching to in-house recycling.

District 7

Shingleton, running for his third term, raised $6,000 from Jan. 1 to Wednesday, spent $15,665 and had $67,225 in the bank.

His financial backers included Bass; the Bass family PAC, PSEL; the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association PAC and the Price campaign.

Gallagher, an auto dealer and mortgage loan officer, according to his campaign application, has raised no money, has received no loans and has spent no money.

He has declined repeated requests for interviews from the Star-Telegram.

District 8

Gray, seeking her third term, filed the reports one day late. She raised $24,738 from Jan. 1 to March 31 and spent $12,378, with $14,513 in the bank.

Her backers included the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association PAC, the Fort Worth Retired Firefighters and Widows PAC, the Fort Worth Firefighters PAC, Bass, the Bass family’s Good Government Fund and Kelly Hart & Hallman L.L.P.

Mason-Ford, a special-education teacher for adults, raised $4,597 from Jan. 28 to Thursday, including $1,000 in in-kind donations from Seeking God First Holiness Church for office headquarters. She spent $5,150 but accepted no loans. Her campaign was $653 in the hole.

Her political backers included former state District Judge Maryellen Hicks, the mother of former Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks, who lost the race for District 8 to Gray in 2013.

Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984

Twitter: @catyhirst

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