The resignation of Mansfield Mayor David Cook has left City Council members with some big decisions to make at their Monday meeting – when to have a special election to fill his seat and whether they should run for mayor.
Cook, who has served as mayor since 2008, announced his resignation in early December in order to run for Texas House District 96 representative. The day after the Mansfield native announced his intent to run for the Texas House seat, incumbent Bill Zedler dropped out of the race, leaving the field clear for Cook as the sole Republican candidate. Cook, a local attorney, will face Democrat Joe Drago in the November election.
Cook’s announcement meant that he had to resign as Mansfield’s mayor. However, he will continue to serve as mayor until his successor is qualified, said City Attorney Allen Taylor.
City Council has options on filling Mansfield mayor’s seat
The Mansfield City Council will have to decide how that will happen, and they have some choices.
“Under the Texas Constitution, if he has more than 1 year and 1 month to serve, an election will be called,” Taylor said.
Cook was re-elected in May 2019 to another three-year term, so he has more than two years left.
The council has 120 days from the mayor’s resignation to hold the special election, but that may not be possible.
“There’s almost no window of time in which to have it,” Taylor said. “According to the Texas Election Code, you cannot have a special election 30 days before or after a state election. What happens in March? Super Tuesday is March 3. And the 120-day window expires 26 days before the general election (May 2).”
Taylor has calculated that there are four to five days in April when the council could hold a special election.
City could have four elections in 40 days
“If we have multiple (candidates), then we could have a run-off,” Taylor said. “(Including the general election and a possible run-off from those races), we could have four elections in 40 days.”
And then there’s the cost of calling a special election, which could ring in at $40,000, and that’s without a run-off.
Or the council could opt to hold the special election for the mayor’s seat at the same time as the general election, thanks to the some latitude from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, which sees that this is “an unusual set of circumstances,” Taylor said.
Taylor will present the situation and the options to the Mansfield council at Monday’s regular meeting.
Several of the council members will then have to make another decision – whether to seek the mayor’s seat. Any council member with more than 1 year and 1 month left in their term would have to resign from their current position in order to run, Taylor said.
Two community leaders have plans to run for mayor
Council member Terry Moore, who has held the Place 6 seat since 2017, has already announced that he will seek the mayor’s Place 1 post. Moore will not have to resign to seek the new position since his term expires in May, Taylor said. Moore, a cardiovascular equipment salesman, has also served on the Mansfield ISD School Board and several other community boards.
Michael Evans, a local pastor, has also announced that he intends to seek the mayor’s seat. Evans has also served on Mansfield ISD School Board and several community boards.
The Place 7 seat, held by longtime council member Larry Broseh, is also open in the May general election.
Filing for the May 2 general election is Jan. 15 through Feb. 14. Candidates cannot file for the mayor’s seat until the council calls the special election.
Packets to run for the Mansfield City Council can be picked up at the city secretary’s office at City Hall, 1200 E. Broad St.