Elections News

Dallas voters elect new city council with old and new faces

Dallas voters elect new city council with old and new faces

Dwaine Caraway
Remember Dwaine? He's baaaack. Dwaine Caraway/Facebook

Joining cities across Texas, Dallas voted in an election on May 6 that installed a new city council of mostly incumbents, along with the return of flamboyant Dwaine Caraway, back after a two-year absence. Three city council districts will go to a runoff, and three incumbents ran unopposed.

Runoffs are for the races where no candidate earned a minimum 50 percent. They include Monica Alonzo in District 6, a district that has generated controversy because of the situation in West Dallas, where residents are facing possible evictions; Tiffinni Young in District 7, a district that has generated controversy because Young does not respond to her constituents, and is receiving money from a wealthy-people PAC; and Erik Wilson in District 8, who is being challenged by his predecessor, Tennell Atkins.

The general runoff is on June 10, and the winners become official on June 19.

Returning to office will be Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Casey Thomas, Rick Callahan, Mark Clayton, Lee Kleinman, Philip Kingston, Adam McGough, Sandy Greyson, and Jennifer Staubach Gates. The results for all of the races in Dallas County and surrounding cities, including vote count, are listed here.

Two races earned the most attention: District 11, between incumbent Kleinman and opponent Candace Evans, who won a 37 percent of the vote, impressive for a first-timer; and District 14, between incumbent Kingston and opponent Matt Wood.

A political action committee called For Our Community — overseen by Mari Woodlief of Allyn Media, who previously managed campaigns for Mayor Mike Rawlings and District Attorney Susan Hawk and funded by such donors as real estate honcho Jack Matthews and investor Mike Terry — mounted a negative campaign against Kingston, focusing on his personality rather than his voting record.

The Dallas Morning News jumped on that bandwagon with a set of negatively biased stories. If you want to see how tone-deaf out-of-touch the newspaper is with what's happening in Dallas, then its coverage of the Kingston-Wood campaign is a great example.

Negative campaigns are said to have a negative effect on voter turnout, but this one backfired. Voters turned out in droves, with 7,916 votes tallied in District 14 (compared to 2015 when Kingston ran without contest and only 2,871 people voted).

The newspaper's response to Kingston's win was to dig in its heels deeper, writing an editorial the day after the election that scolded his supporters as if they were children, and called East Dallas an "echo chamber," saying:

"East Dallas echo chamber: Philip Kingston's supporters may relish in their 'take that, Establishment Dallas' fervor, but now comes two more years of District 14 being represented by an individual whose decision-making poorly serves constituents. Until voters do more than lap up Kingston's rhetoric — and instead look at how he does business and what he actually accomplishes — this district will pay a price."

Pretty sure most of Kingston's supporters voted because they like how he does business and all that he has actually accomplished, but the DMN definitely knows something about echo chambers. As Dallas Observer writer Jim Schutze says, what a bunch of sore losers. But it's lousy we don't have a better newspaper than this.