Only eligible candidate in Mansfield Place 2 school board race holds large lead

Jandel Crutchfield, the only eligible candidate for Mansfield school board Place 2, holds a 62.17% to 37.83% lead over Angel Hidalgo, according to unofficial voting results from Tarrant County with all precincts reporting.

Johnson counties voting results were not available late Saturday night.

Crutchfield’s watch party broke out in cheers when a projector displayed the early voting results at 7:18 p.m.

Crutchfield, an associate professor in the School of Social Work at UT Arlington, addressed the nearly 50 supporters, gathered at the family’s business, Family Time Mansfield, for the party just before 8 p.m.

She thanked family members and residents who helped her campaign for going door to door, setting up campaign tents at polling locations and for filing public information requests that showed the district knew Hidalgo was likely ineligible.

Hidalgo was declared ineligible last month by the district but remained on the ballot because the deadline to remove him had passed, the district said.

Records show the district and school board members knew for months Hidalgo was likely ineligible. The district did not respond to a question asking about how it would notify voters of Hidalgo’s ineligibility.

The initial records request that showed the district and school board members knew Hidalgo was likely ineligible was filed by Clayton Waters, who has two children in the district and whose wife used to work in the district. He attended Crutchfield’s watch party.

“It’s obvious that Jandel is someone who is devoted to this community, who’s invested in this community and who’s rooted in this community. And I think the turnout so far proves proves that point that,” Waters said. “This is a tight knit community and there’s a small, vocal minority that thinks a certain way about Mansfield ISD and what’s best. And I think this vote proves just that.”

Waters said he is proud to be a parent in the district.

“I’m really glad that my kids get to go to school at Mansfield schools despite all of the crazy things that have happened this election season,” he said. “This is a great place to raise a family.”

Mansfield voter Kristen Fleming-Wood echoed Waters’ appreciation for Crutchfield’s involvement in the community.

“I’m very excited that Jandel has won, and I’m very excited to see what she’s going to be doing for our city in the future. She’s done a lot of service for our city already, and I think she’s just going to carry on and continue doing more good things.” Fleming-Wood said.

Crutchfield said she is relieved the election is over and that she can focus on what she’ll do as a member of the Mansfield school board.

“I think the students and the staff of Mansfield ISD deserve leadership on our board from our administrators to make sure that we reflect the excellence in the district,” Crutchfield said. “I think we need to work hard to make sure our actions don’t detract from any of the great stuff that they are doing.”

But her election won’t be the only thing Crutchfield and her family celebrates this weekend. Crutchfield said her son is getting baptized on Sunday and she turns 42 on Monday.

Hidalgo, a Spanish professor at Tarrant County College, declined to speak to the Star-Telegram Saturday night but said to refer to his Facebook for comment.

“As promised, I stayed in the race until today, May 4th. No matter what happens today, my campaign ends tonight,” a Facebook post from Hidalgo’s former campaign page reads. “I want to continue to dedicate myself to my passion, which is being an educator. I am not a politician; I am an educator. While running for this position, I quickly learned that it became more politicized than student needs focused.”