As Freeport experiences a surge in economic growth, the number of people interested in leading the city is expanding, as well.
Twelve candidates have filed for three elected positions in Freeport that will be on the May 9 ballot, including six for mayor.
Those three races are among 20 contested seats spread among city offices and school boards voters will get to decide this spring. The filing deadline was 5 p.m. Friday.
Troy Brimage, Melanie Oldham and Tyrone Morrow were the last three candidates to join the race to unseat incumbent Freeport Mayor Norma Moreno Garcia, who is seeking her third term.
“I think the city is headed in the right direction, and I want to make sure we keep it that way,” said Brimage, a developer and president of the city’s Economic Development Corp. It is the lifelong Freeport resident’s first time seeking a public office.
Morrow is the city’s former police chief. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013.
Oldham, who moved to Freeport from Angleton two years ago, is the founder of Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Water in Brazoria County.
Councilman Larry McDonald, a former mayor, and Manning Rollerson, who also ran for the seat in 2013, have each filed for the mayoral seat, as well.
The mayor serves a two-year term and receives $200 per month.
Fred Bolton has filed for re-election for Ward B on Freeport City Council. Joining him on the ballot are Tina Marie Rodgers and Eric Hayes.
Councilwoman Sandra Barbree did not file for re-election in Ward D.
Vying to replace her will be Martin Velez, Jason Travis and Robert Garcia.
Council members also serve two-year terms and receive $100 a month.
In Clute, incumbents Don Oaks in Ward B and Travis Quinn in Ward D are unopposed to retain their seats, while Edmond Baker Jr. filed Friday as a challenger to incumbent Municipal Judge Randy A. Smith.
In Lake Jackson, business owner Douglas Kincannon put his name on the ballot to run against the incumbent Heather Melass for council Position 1. Jon Baker in Position 5 and Gerald Roznovsky in Position 3 will be running unopposed.
“Incumbents running unopposed is not too unusual,” said Lake Jackson City Secretary Alice Rodgers. “What almost never happens is when we have to cancel elections because only incumbents file.”
If Kincannon wouldn’t have filed, Lake Jackson’s election would have been canceled.
At Brazosport ISD, incumbents Patty Sayes, George Sullivan and Jerry Adkins were the only candidates to file by the election’s filing deadline Friday.
Of its three open seats, Angleton will only have two contested races. Mayor Randy Rhyne will run against newcomer Damus Vice for his third and final term.
Position 4 incumbent Bonnie McDaniel will vie with Larry Schafer to keep her seat on council. Incumbent Williams Tigner was the only person to file for his position 2 seat, so his name will go on the ballot uncontested, City Secretary Shelly Deisher said.
Schafer was the last person to file Friday, at about 3:30 p.m., she said.
If not for a special election to fill Greg Dillon’s Position 4 seat, Angleton ISD would be able to cancel its election this year, Superintendent Pat Montgomery said. Only the three incumbents, Kimi Hunter, Don Thompson and Mike Sillavan, filed for their positions by the deadline.
But Dillon announced last week he had accepted a job in Dallas County, and the district must have a special election to fill the remaining two years of his term.
That election will be on the May 9 ballot, and Natasha Green and Tim Dean already have filed for the spot.
Danbury will have five people up for its three open alderman positions: incumbents Brenda Milligan, George Phillips and Melinda Strong, and newcomers Larry Linscome Jr. and Wesley Baldwin.
Only incumbents filed for the three Danbury ISD Board of Trustee positions, so no election will be held for the district.
In Sweeny, Councilman Don Lemon will square off against incumbent Rodney Weems for mayor. Jeff Farley and Scott Swift will vie for the Position 2 seat Lemon is giving up.
Incumbent Rachel Wells is unopposed for Position 4.
Only incumbents Marcus Rabren, Gary Kersh and Irv Eddy filed for Brazoria City Council, meaning they will retain their seats without need of an election.
Incumbent Becky Danford filed to keep her Position 2 seat on the Columbia-Brazoria ISD board of trustees, and Matt Damborsky was the lone filer in the race for Position 1.
West Columbia saw no filers for its four vacant council positions.
Jones Creek and Oyster Creek will be able to cancel their elections, as only incumbents filed for the open seats.
Terry Jeffers, Gordon Schlemmer and Jack Taylor will keep their current positions for another term in Jones Creek, while Justin Mills in Position 1, Eric Chitwood in Position 2 and Mayor Louis Guidry win unopposed in Oyster Creek.
“We almost never have contested races. The last contested race we had was about two years ago,” said Oyster Creek City Secretary Carmen Moon.
Surfside Beach will elect three at-large aldermen from a pool of four candidates. David Guzman, project specialist Toni Capretta and former aldermen Peggy Llewellyn and Bob Petty will be on the ballot.
Quintana will have a new mayor when Harold Doty moves over from his current Position 2 council seat, as he is running unopposed for the top spot. Current mayor Gary Wilson will be running to replace Doty in Position 2 against Barrett Blackwell. Stephen Alongis and George Applegate are both seeking Position 1.
In Richwood, Mayor Clint Kocurek will run unopposed, but the other two spots will be contested. For Position 2, Melissa Blanks waited until the final day to file, and will run against Mark Guthrie. In Position 3, incumbent Jerrod Beaty will face opposition from Lauren LaCount.
“We tend to have more uncontested than contested races,” said Richwood City Manager Karen Schrom. “That has changed the last two years, and it’s a good thing.
“We are glad to see more people running for these positions.”
Election Day is May 9. Early voting runs April 27 to May 2. Residents’ last opportunity to register to vote in the election is April 9.