Bud Kennedy

BBQ owner makes it three in race for Arlington mayor

Mayor Jeff Williams, left, faces challenges so far from Ashton Stauffer, center, and Chris Dobson.
Mayor Jeff Williams, left, faces challenges so far from Ashton Stauffer, center, and Chris Dobson.

Restaurateur Ashton Stauffer filed Monday to run for mayor, becoming the second challenger to incumbent Mayor Jeff Williams in the May 4 election.

Stauffer, 31, the owner of barbecue restaurants in Arlington and Pantego, said her campaign will celebrate small businesses, support legal immigration and challenge city taxes as too high.

“The slogan of my campaign will be ‘Arlington Citizens First,’ “ she said.

“Mayor Williams has done a great job bringing in big business. But he has not been successful in getting this city’s foot off the neck of the local businessperson.”

In 2004, Stauffer and a co-owner bought a Rendon barbecue restaurant, Jambo’s BBQ Shack. Jambo’s added locations in the 88-year-old former Arlington Steak House and also in Pantego, selling the original location.

Stauffer, an online personality who once published a photo calendar, has 15,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. She said she expects to loan herself $20,000.

“I have the advantage of being born in an era when you can reach many people with a click of a button,” she said.

Williams, a civil engineer, was elected in 2017. He last reported $113,449 in cash on hand for the campaign.

The third candidate, substitute teacher Chris Dobson, last reported $20 on hand after a 2018 campaign.

The filing deadline is Feb. 15 for local council, school board, water improvement board and junior college board elections.

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Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 16 Texas Legislature sessions. First on the scene of a 1988 DFW Airport crash, he interviewed passengers running from the burning plane. He made his first appearance in the paper before he was born: He was sold for $600 in the adoption classifieds.