The race to replace the longest tenured mayor in the U.S. just got a bit more crowded.
City Secretary Tomika Lewis conducted a ballot drawing Monday in the Stafford City Council chambers for the special election for Stafford mayor scheduled for Nov. 3. The city is in search of a new leader after the June 28 death of Leonard Scarcella, who served as mayor for more than 50 years.
The ballot order is as follows: A.J. Honore, a former city council member; Mayor Pro Tempore Wen Guerra; council member Cecil Willis; and Jim Narvios, a local activist and Texas Southern University law student who was the last entrant to throw his hat in the ring.
The four candidates made official their bids to become the fifth mayor in Stafford history after Scarcella died earlier this summer at age 79.
Guerra, Honore, Narvios and Willis have all said maintaining the city’s zero property tax is part of their campaign platform.
Honore, a former Stafford City Council member, received the endorsement of the Fort Bend County Tejano Democrats in 2019 and challenged Scarcella in last year’s mayoral election, garnering 34.9 percent of the vote. He created the Stafford Convention and Visitors Bureau, Energy Committee, and oversaw the reform of Stafford’s human resources department.
Guerra has been president of the Stafford Economic Development Council since 2015 and serves on the City of Stafford Benefits, Financial and Legislative committees. He was appointed Mayor Pro Tempore in May 2019. He is also chairman of the Stafford Centre Committee and the Stafford July Fourth Festival Committee and a member of the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
Willis, a self-described “fiscal conservative,” has served longest on the Stafford City Council of any active member, with his first stint spanning from 1979-95. He was elected again in 2000. He is the chairman of the Stafford Parks Committee and Vice Chairman of the Fort Bend County Mayor/Council Association.
“Having known and worked with Mayor Scarcella for almost 40 years, I feel confident that I can continue the progress that has been made under his leadership and vision,” Willis said in a statement.
Narvios served two years on the Thurgood Marshall School of Law honor court and has spent 11 years as a community spokesperson for diversity and multiculturalism. He has been an advocate for awareness of various social issues, including human trafficking, domestic violence, police brutality, child advocacy and senior service programs.
“I stand on the shoulders of greatness and if it weren’t for the pioneers before me, I would not have the opportunities that I have today,” Narvios wrote on his website.
Early voting is slated for Oct. 13-30.