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Carolyn Vaughn to Run for Corpus Christi Mayor

Nueces County Precinct 1 Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn has announced her intentions to run for mayor of Corpus Christi. Courtesy photo

The Corpus Christi mayoral race is on! Incumbent Mayor Joe McComb drew a strong challenger in Nueces County Precinct 1 Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn, who recently announced her intentions to seek the office. Vaughn is a former city councilor who served District 1 for four years. She stepped down in early 2018 when she was appointed to the county Commissioners Court, replacing MIke Pulsey, who resigned to run for county judge. He lost to Barbara Canales and has announced he will seek an at-large position on the City Council this election cycle.

Elected positions in Nueces County and Corpus Christi often seem like a game of musical chairs with early retirements, appointments, and constant elections. The entire City Council, including the mayor, three at-large seats, and five district seats, is up for election every two years, which might soon change if a newly proposed city charter is approved by voters.

Nueces County commissioners serve four-year terms. Vaughn’s term ends this year, leaving Canales with an opportunity to appoint a replacement. The appointed incumbent would then have to run in the Nov. 3 election.

The filing period for a place on the general election ballot begins Monday, July 20, and ends at 5 p.m. Monday, August 17. Candidate packets with the application form and requirements are available on the city secretary’s webpage.

A council-appointed ad hoc committee presented a recommendation for doubling City Council terms to four years, allowing for a limit of four terms. Currently, members, including the mayor, can serve a maximum of four two-year terms. Those terms also would be staggered so the entire council would not be up for election at the same time.

The committee also recommended converting the three at-large seats to single-member districts. The Texas Constitution limits all at-large members to two-year terms. A city charter cannot override a state law.

McComb pointed out at a recent City Council meeting that doing away with at-large positions would reduce public input on who serves on the council.

“People have a chance to vote for a majority of the council today,” McComb said. “I’m not sure people will want to give up their ability to vote for at least five positions (mayor, three at-large, and one district) and have it reduced to two (mayor and district).”

If approved by voters, the new charter also would double the salary for council members. No current council member would receive the doubled pay. It would only go to future members. For at least the past 30 years, mayors have been paid $9,000 a year, while council members make $6,000 a year.

The charter proposal has not yet been approved by the council for inclusion on the November ballot.

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