Tarrant County, Texas, has long been known as the place where the West begins. This mentality has been embraced by its inhabitants for more than a century, and it is this same spirit that has shaped the county's development over time.
Politicshas had a major influence on this growth, with the Republican Party leaning heavily to the right and being heavily impacted by former President Donald Trump. This has caused some long-time Tarrant County leaders to worry that the county is in danger of becoming a “Trump, QAnon and MAGA” county. The most recent example of politics impacting Tarrant County's development is the election of Tim O'Hare as the new county judge.
O'Hare, who was formerly the mayor of Farmers Branch and was backed by Trump, promised to do everything possible to offer property tax breaks to residents of Tarrant County. Outgoing Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley believes that the structure of the county government will moderate the most extreme partisan ambitions. O'Hare also said that Tarrant County residents who didn't vote for him will benefit from his leadership. The political and economic dynamic makes Tarrant a crucial county in the race for governor, where Democrats see an opportunity for Deborah Peoples, who is running for county judge against Tim O'Hare. Peoples is a former president of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and previously ran twice for mayor of Fort Worth.
Roy Brooks, a Democrat who represents southwestern Tarrant County, and Gary Fickes, a Republican who represents northeast Tarrant County, are the veteran commissioners. Whitley hasn't endorsed any candidate in the Tarrant County judges' race, but has expressed concern about O'Hare. The former mayor of Fort Worth noted that only a small percentage of voters participated in the Tarrant County primary. The role of the county judge in Tarrant and other populated counties in Texas is almost exclusively administrative. Democratic strategist Matt Angle, a native of Haltom City, said that Republican extremism puts Tarrant County at risk of becoming a “Trump, QAnon and MAGA” county, which could result in a political landscape that favors Democrats. They came for everything, and you stood up and said, “It's not going to happen here in Tarrant County. The position of Tarrant County judge became available when Glen Whitley, who held the position for seven of his 16 years in county government, chose not to run for re-election.
This opened up an opportunity for Tim O'Hare to lead the next era of conservative leadership in the county. It remains to be seen how this new leadership will affect Tarrant County's development over time.