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District 9 runoff will determine Burns' replacement

District 9 voters cast ballots Saturday to elect a new council member to replace Joel Burns.
District 9 voters cast ballots Saturday to elect a new council member to replace Joel Burns.
Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

The two candidates who came out on top in the May 10 special election to replace Fort Worth District 9 Councilman Joel Burns face off again Saturday in a runoff.

The candidates, Ed Lasater, 44, and Ann Zadeh, 47, were among six candidates on the May election ballot. The winner of Saturday’s runoff will take the seat Burns has occupied since January 2008. He resigned in February to earn a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.

Lasater and Zadeh say they’ve kept up the same pace during the runoff campaign as they did for the May election.

Lasater, a former Tarrant County assistant district attorney who now works in a family business, came in second on May 10 with 24.01 percent of the vote. He says he’s taking a different approach to the runoff.

“First balloting was really about going from an unknown to introducing yourself to people and getting them comfortable,” he says. “And in the runoff it has been very different. We’ve had a much more intense grassroots effort. I knocked on a lot of doors first balloting. I’ve knocked on even more in the runoff. But we’ve had more people out knocking on doors, more people talking and in more neighborhoods. In first balloting I concentrated mostly on my home neighborhood, in my home precinct and close by. And in the runoff, I’ve really been all over the district and trying to meet as many residents – not just the leaders but everybody – because I think you get a better sense of what’s going on.”

Nevertheless, Lasater says, “The last three or four days aren’t about convincing new voters. If you haven’t gotten your message out to folks, they’re not going to get it. You need to get the people who are favorable to you to vote. That’s what we’re working on.”

Zadeh finished first in the May election with 31.29 percent of the votes. She’s a certified city planner and served six years on the city’s Zoning Commission, the last year of her term as chair.

During the final days of the campaign, she says, “I’m very, very busy campaigning. I’m just continuing on with what I’ve done from the very beginning, and that is reaching out to voters through neighborhood associations and door-to-door and talking to anybody and everybody that wants to hear about the important choice we’re making about our next representative for District 9.”

“I was told by numerous people that it was not likely that you could win outright when you were dividing votes with six people,” she says, “but we ran it as if we were trying to win it the first time around and we’re trying to win it the second time around.”

June 21 Runoff Election for Fort Worth District 9

Polls for Saturday’s runoff are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find voting locations on the Tarrant County Elections Web page.
Voters must present a current photo ID or an Election Identification Certificate to vote.

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