Becoming a 1 percenter wasn’t exactly what Jerry Warden had in mind when he threw his hat into the ring for Arlington mayor.
Warden, 60, a well-known metalhead from the band Warlock, collected just over 1 percent of the vote during the May 1 mayoral election after he was thrown out of the race. Eight names had been placed on the ballot for mayor and Warden owned the top slot. However, the dogged determination of rival mayoral candidate Jim Ross led to Warden getting officially booted from the race because of his past felonies.
Warden had served 15 years in prison after “being convicted in 1996 on charges of kidnapping and sexually abusing a 24-year-old woman,” according to The Dallas Morning News. Tarrant County criminal records show he'd also been found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 1995. He served a 15-year sentence for both charges. As a result, his name and photo are now on file with the state’s sex offender registry.
Ross, a former Marine and Arlington police officer whose law firm boasts partnerships with the Texas Rangers, Texas Live! and others, complained consistently that Warden was unfit to run for office because of his criminal history.
At first, Arlington City Secretary Alex Busken balked at ejecting Warden from the race, but Warden says he was eventually notified that he was ineligible to run for public office. Still, because of election rules and deadlines, Warden’s name stayed on the ballot.
After the polls had closed, unofficial Tarrant County election results showed that Ross had won in 51 percent of the early vote, but that percentage wouldn’t hold. Soon, Ross’ share slumped to 47 percent which may, or may not, have had something to do with the fact that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram — which had rubber-stamped Ross as the newspaper’s choice for Arlington mayor — retracted the endorsement just a few days before the election because Ross had fibbed to them, they say.
According to the Star-Telegram, Ross claimed that he’d never been involved in a bankruptcy before when he actually had. And Ross wasn’t the only one to misinterpret the question that the newspaper had put forth in plain language. Nikkie Hunter, who’s running for a District 3 council seat, did the same. But the Star-Telegram wasn’t buying it and pulled its recommendations for both candidates.
Regardless, Ross will now lock horns in a runoff election June 5 with former Arlington City Council member Michael Glaspie, whom the Star-Telegram now says also didn’t disclose information about a tax delinquency case. The winner will replace Arlington’s current mayor, Jeff Williams.
Meanwhile, Warden has moved on from his first foray into politics.
“We’re killing it over at the Mavs,” he says, noting that he’ll join Warlock live onstage July 3 at Mavericks Bar & Grill in Downtown Arlington. After that, he’s set to embark on a five-city southern Texas tour.
Reflecting on his short-lived campaign, Warden says he thought that he didn’t have any naiveté left in him at his age. But he was wrong.
“You just get a little bit of an inside view into how things work,” he says of local politics. “It’s a big machine.”
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