Gerard Hudspeth, a two-term Denton City Council member, won the runoff Tuesday against Keely Briggs to become the city’s first Black mayor.
In unofficial returns, he received 53% of the vote. He will serve in a two year term and will be sworn in Dec. 17 with other new council members.
“I’m just taking it in tonight and hanging out with family,” Hudspeth said. “I am super excited to have it over. Obviously, I am thrilled with the results and the trust citizens [have]. Mayor [Chris] Watts guided us to this point, and I am grateful to follow him. My plan is to talk to the city manager tomorrow and get to work.”
A litigation consultant, Hudspeth left the City Council on Nov. 17 after Birdia Johnson was elected to replace him in District 1. Briggs, a community volunteer, was in her third term as the District 2 council member.
A man who answered Briggs’ home phone Tuesday night said she had no comment other than to congratulate Hudspeth on his victory.
A Denton native, Hudspeth received 8,440 votes, while Briggs garnered 7,430 votes.
Briggs stopped accepting campaign contributions with a week left before her runoff election against Hudspeth, encouraging her supporters to donate to local nonprofits instead. On her campaign Facebook page, she noted that Hudspeth raised about $100,000 this year in his run for mayor, including more than $33,000 during the latest filing period, Oct. 25-Nov. 25.
“Meanwhile, we rallied to raise just over $9,000 from 171 individual contributions which overwhelmingly (99%) came from local donations from friends, family, and neighbors,” Briggs wrote. “As with [Hudspeth’s] previous fundraising, much of this money (over $26,000 from 27 of his 50 individual donations — nearly 80% of his funding), is coming from industry PAC and large individual contributions from outside of our city.”
Hudspeth received 14 donations of $1,000 apiece for the latest filing period for campaign finance reports. He received two donations of $2,000, and the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas contributed $5,000.
“The numbers are the numbers, but I read them a little different,” Hudspeth said at the time. “Unless you do an analysis of every dollar that comes in, you are skewing the weight against me. If you are targeting the larger dollar amount, I don’t think that’s fair.”
And that’s because, Hudspeth said, he believes that many of the large donations to his campaign are from donors who are “concerned” about previous votes from Denton City Council members, including Briggs and at-large Place 6 member Paul Meltzer, on real estate projects and development issues.
“I appreciate the fact that as a candidate, I have the requisite balance of personal property versus public health versus growth, and I have shown the ability to balance those interests and not focus on my own ideology,” Hudspeth said. “Developers understand that and appreciate that.”
Other large donors included relatives and friends in Texas and elsewhere, he said.