Andrea Jackson Barefield, a first-time Waco City Council candidate with a background in economic development, historic preservation and heritage tourism, won the District 1 seat on Saturday with 307 votes, or 50 percent, in the four-person race.
Barefield is a daughter of former Waco Mayor Mae Jackson, who held the role for less than a year before her unexpected death in 2005. At an election party at Sascee’s Southern Eatery, Barefield held a T-shirt belonging to her mother and thanked supporters with a megaphone given to her by Wilbert Austin, the late District 1 councilman.
Dwayne Banks, a local business owner and truck driver, received 202 votes, or 33 percent. Retiree Cecil McDowell won 101 votes, or 16 percent, and pizzeria manager Luis Guevara won nine votes. On April 26, Guevara said he had suspended his campaign and encouraged voters to support Barefield.
Of the district’s 10,995 registered voters, 619 people voted, or 5.6 percent. The 2016 District 1 race saw 346 votes, the 2014 race saw 424 votes, and the 2012 race saw 813 votes.
Barefield said the race attracted candidates who “fought the good fight” and that she is excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead.
“I think it’s a great opportunity and a time for Waco to continue on this trajectory it’s on, with District 1 as a really active part of that,” she said.
Barefield is executive director of the Texas Brazos Trail Region, which promotes tourism to historic sites in Central Texas. She is the former head of Waco’s Main Street program, which supports economic development and downtown growth through the nonprofit, City Center Waco.
District 1 includes East Waco, Texas State Technical College, McLennan Community College, Cameron Park, Timbercrest and parts of North and South Waco.
Austin, a longtime civil rights advocate, held the seat from 2006 to 2017. He resigned shortly before his death at the age of 76, and the council appointed Noah Jackson Jr. to fill the remainder of his two-year term.
The council on Tuesday unanimously voted to rename East Waco Park as Wilbert Austin Sr. Park.
Banks and his wife, Marilyn, own Marilyn’s Gift Gallery on Elm Avenue. Banks said he is disappointed with the results but satisfied with the road to Election Day.
“I think it was a good campaign,” Banks said. “I think we did good with what we had to work with. We had a small team and didn’t necessarily have the resources to get out there and do things like my opponent. I feel pretty good about how everything turned out.”
Barefield had the support of local NAACP leadership and the Jockey Club barbershop in East Waco.
McDowell, who has run for the seat multiple times, did not raise any money in his campaign. He attributed his loss to a lack of donations, compared to Barefield’s $9,011 campaign chest.
“You have the right to win, so congratulations,” McDowell said. “God bless her. I didn’t have that kind of money to spend, so I did the best I could, so I’m happy. I hope she’ll fulfill her promises, that’s all.”
Votes will be officially canvassed next week.