Ten running for council, four vying for mayor in Port AFree Access

The crowded field of candidates for Port Aransas City Council and mayor just got even more crowded.

Ten people are running for three city council seats, and four people are running for mayor.

The deadline for filing for office was at 5 p.m. today (Friday, Feb. 18). The election will be on May 7.

Following are the candidates and their occupations, according to a news release issued after the deadline by Port Aransas City Secretary Francisca Nixon:

Running for mayor: Wendy Moore, bank branch manager; Paul Sherrill, retired; Martin J. Phalen, health physicist/radiation safety; Gregory Chittum, auctioneer.

Mayor Charles Bujan died on Feb. 9.

Running for Place 2: Victoria Stiewig, RV Park owner; Tina Mott, correspondence carrier; and Kelly Owens, business owner. Mott is the incumbent.

Place 4 is being pursued by Tanya Chambers, business owner; and Gary Klepperich, executive director/Padre Isles POA. Incumbent Bruce Clark cannot run again due to term limits.

Running for Place 6 are Carl “Corky” Moore, preservation developer; Leslie Smith, HVAC business owner; Dale T. Christianson, business owner; Paul Ruff, waiter; and Edwin Myers, restaurant/bar owner.

Place 6 incumbent Joan Holt cannot run again due to term limits.

The South Jetty invites candidates to submit statements regarding their candidacies, reasons for running and qualifications for the office they seek.

Statements should be approximately 600 words long, typewritten and emailed to the South Jetty’s news editor, Dan Parker, at dan@portasouthjetty.com, with “Candidate Statement” on the subject line.

The statements will be accepted for publication at no charge through noon on Monday, Feb. 21.

Candidates may submit photos of themselves to be published with their statements, or they may make arrangements to have a South Jetty staff member shoot a photo.

Depending on the status of COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant, the South Jetty plans to host Candidates’ Night, a voter education forum for candidates in contested races.

The event has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at Council Chambers in City Hall.

Candidates must confirm their participation at the time they file or no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21.

They may confirm by calling the South Jetty at (361) 749-5131 or emailing Parker and writing “Candidates’ Night” on the subject line.

Candidates in contested races who do not confirm participation in Candidates’ Night will not be included in the forum.

If only two candidates are on the ballot for the same position and one of the two doesn’t confirm, only the candidate who confirmed will be included in the forum.

If two or more candidates on the ballot confirm participation and other candidates do not, only the candidates who confirmed will be included.

The South Jetty hopes to hold Candidates’ Night in a location where an audience will be allowed to attend, in person.

If COVID concerns warrant it, the newspaper could decide to live-stream the event without an audience in the room.

If it is determined that holding an in-person Candidates’ Night is unsafe due to the pandemic, candidates will be emailed questions and the responses will be published in the South Jetty prior to the start of early voting.

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