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Lubbock gets new mayor, majority-women city council after municipal election

Early voting for the municipal election continues through May 3 before Election Day on May 7.
Weston Davis
Texas Tech Public Media
Municipal Election Day was May 7.

Tray Payne will be Lubbock’s next mayor and the city council will, for the first time, have more women than men on the dais following the municipal election.

Over 23,600 Lubbock County citizens cast ballots during the municipal election that included city and school board races throughout the county. The majority of votes, 15,804, came during early voting. Turnout was comparable to past May municipal elections and represents 13% of all registered voters in the county.

Payne, a former assistant district attorney who now has a private law practice, earned over 68% of votes and avoided a runoff in the race that had five candidates. Local activist Adam Hernandez got 19% of votes, musician Stephen Sanders got 9%, businessman Gulrez “Gus” Khan got 3% and Epifanio “Major” Garza got less than 2%.

Payne will follow Dan Pope, who announced last year he would not seek re-election after serving as Lubbock’s mayor for six years. During Texas Tech Public Media’s mayoral forum, Payne said he will prioritize needs over wants in the city. He plans to do that by first focusing on public safety, taxation and wasteful spending.

“I believe that at a municipal level, in our backyard, the job of a local government is to take care of core, fundamental services,” Payne said. “The absolute necessities - that’s job number one. And then you can move up the ladder to wants after you get to the need.”

Payne will be joined by other new faces on the council. That includes Christy Martinez Garcia, who won the District 1 election with 66% of votes. She is a longtime advocate in the Latino community and publisher of Latino Lubbock magazine. While her opponents questioned her campaign contributions and possible conflicts of interest, pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Wilson will next represent District 5 after earning 53% of votes.

Including District 2 Representative Shelia Patterson-Harris and District 6 Representative Latrelle Joy, this will be the first time in Lubbock history that the majority of seven council seats (including the mayor) will be filled by women.

City Council District 3 was also up for election this cycle, but the seat enticed only one candidate. Mark McBrayer will next represent the Central Lubbock area.

Other heated races in town were for the Lubbock ISD School Board of Trustees. While each incumbent faced a challenger, they also each won their seats by wide margins. Jason Ratliff will stay in District 3 and Ryan Curry will continue to represent District 4.

For more election results, visit the Lubbock County Elections Office website.

Sarah Self-Walbrick is the news director at Texas Tech Public Media, where she leads the news team and focuses on underreported stories in Lubbock. Sarah is a Lubbock native and a three-time graduate of Texas Tech University. She started her career at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
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