Why both parties are so fixated on a nonpartisan Texas mayor’s race

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Republican mayors are close to extinct in big-city America. And there might be one fewer after Saturday’s mayoral runoff in Fort Worth, Texas.

While Democrats hold City Hall in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin, the fifth-largest city in Texas — Fort Worth — is a holdout. Retiring GOP Mayor Betsy Price has held office through a decade of explosive growth that has seen the city’s population add more than 200,000 new residents, bringing it to nearly 1 million people.

The race to succeed her is officially nonpartisan, but the political backdrop is hard to miss: Fort Worth is not only one of the few remaining big cities with a GOP mayor, it’s part of the last major urban county in Texas — Tarrant County — that remains Republican.

What happens in Tarrant County is closely watched, both inside and outside the state. Once a Republican stronghold, Tarrant has seen its GOP margins decline in recent years — President Joe Biden’s narrow victory there in November marked the first time in over a half-century that a Democratic presidential nominee carried the county. If the county continues to move leftward, it stands to affect the balance

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