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Politics & Government

Introducing the 2019 Dallas Mayoral Candidates

A dozen Dallasites want to be Dallas' next mayor. Let's meet them.

Today was the deadline to file to run for office in the May municipal elections. We’ll have a 12-headed mayoral race, almost certainly leading to a runoff between the top two vote getters. Election Day is May 4. You should register. You should vote. Here are the candidates, listed in order of the date they filed to run.

(Note: We rounded these up throughout the day on Friday, and in the wee hours before the 5 p.m. deadline, two more names popped up: Miguel Patino and Heriberto Ortiz. We’ll look into these two. In the meantime, here’s Ortiz’s campaign Facebook page.)

UPDATE: Patino and Ortiz, as well as Stephen Smith—listed below—failed to get the needed signatures and will not appear on the May ballot. We’re down to nine.

Albert Black

Albert Black

Filed: July 18

Who he is: Oak Cliff businessman, president and CEO of On Target Supplies & Logistics since 1982, first African American chairman of Dallas Regional Chamber, former chairman of the Baylor Health Care System

Announcement coverage: Longtime Dallas Leader Albert Black Enters Mayoral Race

Campaign Moments of Note: Gave us some early mayoral race drama when he and the city secretary went back and forth about whether Black had to forfeit his Dallas Housing Authority Commission spot (eventually, he stepped down of his own accord). His $277,643 was the most money raised by any candidate in 2018.

A Quote: “I believe we can produce an economy that no matter what neighborhood you’re from, no matter your background or immigration status, we can … include you. It’s going to take a lot of work. That’s the work of our campaign.”

Regina Montoya 

Filed: November 28

Regina Montoya, a candidate for Dallas mayor. (Photo courtesy Montoya’s campaign)

Who she is: A corporate and healthcare attorney and longtime civic leader. She was general counsel for Children’s Medical Center for years, and has sat on a number of boards and commissions. She was a mayoral appointee to the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty and sat on the board of directors for DFW International Airport.

Announcement coverage: Regina Montoya, Attorney and Former Clinton Aide, Details Her Mayoral Platform

Campaign moments of note: She raised $85,675 in 2018. And she’s hosted several events and launched block walks from her Greenville Avenue campaign headquarters. In a campaign video, she discusses her upbringing and how she found success despite often being the only woman or person of color in the room.

A quote: “I am literally running for Dallas mayor to focus on our best resource: our people. I want to have a city that empowers its citizens through transportation and education and make sure there are real economic opportunities in all of our communities that make them vibrant and safe.”

Lynn McBee

Filed: December 7

Who She Is: She calls herself a super-volunteer, has served for years on the board of The Bridge Homeless Shelter, and is CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, which focuses on providing STEM education to girls. She has a background in biochemistry.

Announcement Coverage: Philanthropist Lynn McBee Files to Run for Mayor

Campaign Moments of Note: She lived in Highland Park for more than a dozen years but moved to a luxury apartment near Klyde Warren Park in August. She also announced her candidacy at 5 p.m. on a Friday. That got a lot of scrutiny from political observers here. From there, she’s been making the rounds, meeting with people in southern Dallas and other parts of the city. She sent out mailers this week asking for contributions and expounding upon her history over three pages. True to form, she’s raised a lot of money: the first filing period showed that she raised $257,925 and had spent just $3,055. Those mailers have four pieces of paper in them. Her campaign can certainly afford it. Her endorsements include developer Jack Matthews, car dealership chain owner Clay Cooley, Billingsley Co. CEO Lucy Billingsley, and former Mary Kay CEO Richard Rogers.

Quote: “I think when those people get to know me and get to see that—I’ve probably worked harder on behalf of the city then they have, honestly. I’ve given my volunteerism and for every tax they’ve paid, I’ve given. And I didn’t have to do that. I wanted to do that. And I love this city and I care about these people. I will say everything that I’ve been a part of—and I’ve had a lot of really great mentors. And it goes to leadership and it goes to leadership style and so, right now, this election is key. It’s really key that we’ve got the right leader and a unifier and a connector and a collaborator. And the person can bring everybody together (is one) who has had their hands dirty. I’ve had my hands dirty in these issues and worked on them and not just to read on it.”

Mike Ablon

Developer Mike Ablon, photographed here in 2015.

Filed: December 20

Who he is: A real estate developer, most known for his work in bringing to life the Design District. His first foray into politics was the head of the public-private partnership that is in charge of ensuring a park gets built between the Trinity River levees. He was appointed by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and resigned to run to succeed him.

Announcement Coverage: Real Estate Developer Mike Ablon Files to Run For Mayor

Campaign Moments of Note: A fifth-generation Dallasite, Ablon initially filed his campaign treasurer appointment form with the city the day before Thanksgiving and went out of town with no comment. He left empty the box indicating what office he was running for, fueling speculation among the more conspiracy-minded among us. That let him start raising money, and he made his mayoral run official a month later. In his first campaign finance report, Ablon reported raising $104,450 between November and January. With the $100,000 he loaned his campaign, he had $138,613 in the bank—same ballpark as most of his opponents. He’s made establishing the individuality of neighborhoods as the cornerstone of his campaign. He’s got signs plastered all over Oak Lawn.

A quote: “We look at a skyline, but we live in neighborhoods. You revitalize the neighborhoods, you build in the neighborhoods, and those form the fabric of our lives. This includes everything—the fixing of the roads, the improved transportation and access … supporting police and fire so our families are safer, and giving a helping hand to schools so the district can evolve into what it can be and should be.”

Miguel Solis  

Filed: January 7

Who He Is: A former teacher, he is the youngest Dallas ISD trustee in the history of the district. He earned his

Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis.

master’s from Harvard and worked on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. He’s also a mayoral appointee to the Citywide Poverty Task Force and the Joint Committee on Education. He’s a co-founder of the Latino Center for Leadership Development, which aims to help Latinos earn seats on boards and in public office.

Announcement Coverage: Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis Announces Mayoral Run

Campaign Moments of Note: Solis announced his campaign from the cramped Dolphin Heights Neighborhood Association building, a symbol of his history of working with communities in his district that have been neglected or overlooked by the city and the school district. Since then, he’s seemingly spent most of his Sundays visiting churches and meeting with parishioners and their leaders. He’s also convened something of an advisory board, hearing priorities from residents that he says will make it into his platform. His daughter received a heart transplant at three months after being born with a congenital heart transplant. He’s buds with Beto O’Rourke and has vowed to visit every neighborhood in the city—sound familiar? He announced his run after the filing deadline, so we don’t know how much he’s raised or has on hand.

A Quote: “You get a unique perspective when you serve on a school board and you work in DISD the way that I have. I’m going to bring to the table the ability to put bold ideas forward and then work to make those ideas a reality. That has been my track record in DISD and it will be my track record as mayor of Dallas.”

Alyson Kennedy

Alyson Kennedy

Filed: January 8

Who she is: A local foot soldier of the Socialist Workers Party, presidential candidate in 2016 who received 12,467 votes.

Announcement coverage: A 2016 presidential candidate is running for Dallas mayor (Dallas Morning News)

Campaign moments of note: Discussed starting a revolution. Was the lead subject of a Jim Schutze feature in the Dallas Observer about the mayor’s race.

A quote: “What we’re talking about is when working people mobilize and begin to fight in bigger numbers for our rights. I think the violence against us will come from the wealthy. And we will organize to defend ourselves.”

Scott Griggs

Filed: January 10

Who He Is: An attorney and North Oak Cliff’s City Council member. Known as a hawk for details, he’s been outspoken against major projects like the Trinity Toll Road and the broken pedestrian bridge along Interstate 30. Big fan of the word “boondoggle.”

Announcement Coverage: Inside Scott Griggs’ Campaign Kickoff Party

Campaign Moments of Note: He launched his campaign with an image of his boots on a digital billboard along a freeway. He had a packed campaign kickoff with speeches from four current and former city council members: Philip Kingston, Omar Narvaez, Adam Medrano, and Angela Hunt. A couple weeks later, it was revealed that he and his contingent had in years past accepted maximum $1,000 campaign donations from young children. That’s not illegal, but it’s ethically suspect. He’s since donated that money and said that he missed the detail before filing the finance report. Since all that, he’s spoken before the police and fire departments—he helped solve the pension crisis—and held a number of fundraisers around town. He’s met with the restaurant association, too. We don’t know how much he’s raised yet.

A quote: “This year the city of Dallas is going to elect a new mayor, and the new mayor is going to have the ability to change things. Dallas needs a new kind of mayor. The mayors of the past have not worked.”

Jason Villalba

State Rep. Jason Villalba (Photo: Wikicommons)

Filed: January 16

Who he is: Former State Representative, financial lawyer at Foley Gardere, Republican who called for impeachment of President Trump.

Announcement coverage: Former State Rep. Villalba Pumps Family and Community at Campaign Launch

Campaign moments of note: Called for Griggs to step out of the race following the revelation that he took campaign contributions from young kids. Said the Citizens Police Review Board should not get an expansion of authority. Did a DPD ride-along and came away pledging to boost cop salaries. Decried the removal of the confederate memorial. Certainly seems as if he’s appealing to hard-line Republicans in a Democratic county.

A quote: “I’m a product of our community, so I believe in the power of community.”

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson, the state representative, is running for mayor.

Filed: January 22

Who He Is: Born and raised in West Dallas, Johnson is a sitting Democratic state representative. He first won District 100 in 2010. He’s tried to pass legislation that would protect homeowners from being displaced due to increased property taxes. He’s led the charge to remove a racist Confederate memorial plaque from the state Capitol. He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He got a master’s at Princeton.

Announcement Coverage: Texas State Rep. Eric Johnson is a Surprise Entrant into the Mayor’s Race

Campaign Moments of Note: Johnson was the one true surprise in this race. His arrival ruffled some feathers—downtown, Uptown, and East Dallas Councilman Philip Kingston (and Griggs supporter) called his plan “stupid and insulting.” Johnson missed the only mayoral panel so far, but has managed to convince some deep-pocketed Republican business people that he’s the man for the job. Peter Beck, Richard Collins, Doug Deason, Forrest Hoglund, Ray Hunt, Maggie Murchison, Mike Myers, Jeanne Phillips, George Seay III, and Randall Stephenson all signed a letter asking for residents to contribute to his campaign. Some are skeptical that he’ll be able to split his time in the legislature and on the local campaign trail. Time will tell.

A quote: “Dallas is a great city, but we have some serious challenges ahead of us. We need to make sure that the Dallas of tomorrow is full of opportunity for everyone. It’s time to move beyond the old divisions at City Hall and work together toward real solutions.”

Stephen Smith

Filed: February 4

Steve Smith (courtesy Smith Asset Management)

Who he is: Founder and CEO of Smith Group Asset Management, environmentalist, Trinity Forest advocate

Announcement coverage: New Dallas mayoral candidate jumps in with a sole focus on Great Trinity Forest (DMN)

Campaign moments of note: Expressed a single focus on creating a 10,000-acre Trinity Nature Park to the DMN. Once cleared a trail without permission in the Trinity Forest, said it was so residents could easily access a grove of pecan trees.

A quote: “What we’re doing is saying let’s focus on this one thing. The mayor’s job is to come up with a big idea that can be implemented and to lead the charge that way. The city manager’s job is to solve all these other smaller problems.”