We picked a good time to launch our mayoral poll. Last week, there was a debate. There were words exchanged in the media between candidates. A former council member pleaded guilty to taking bribes, which caused everyone to issue statements of their own. There was a lot of block walking and phone calling. It is officially election season.
Last week, we revealed our plan for the next two months: weekly polling by you, weekly write-ups on each of the candidates from us. Each poll will be re-arranged by the lead vote-getters of the week prior. Then, right before the polls open, we’ll add up all of the results. The person who received the most votes over the course of our polling will be named (D Magazine’s) mayor.
We hope you’ll follow along. Now, below, is the first ranking of the election. There were more than 4,000 total votes. Albert Black is leading the pack. See you all next week. Don’t forget to vote.
If you need a primer on who the candidates are, head here. The ranking and this week’s poll are both after the jump. This one is open until Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
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1) Albert Black
Total Votes: 992
Total Percentage of Votes: 24%
Albert Black had a punchy week. During a forum on Tuesday night, Black directly targeted State Rep. Eric Johnson for making a mayoral run while he’s serving on the legislature. He told Scott Griggs that the Council had done a bad job with him on it. He had similar messages for Miguel Solis about the Dallas school board and Jason Villalba for his time as a state representative. And then, the Observer’s Jim Schutze grouped him with Griggs as one of the only two serious mayoral candidates. The Oak Cliff businessman emerges as the frontrunner in our first week’s poll. — Matt Goodman
2) Miguel Solis
Total Votes: 667
Total Percentage of Votes: 16%
Solis continued his tour of southern Dallas churches this week, making a trip to True Lee Missionary Baptist near Fair Park. His people are block walking and making phone calls and he’s held 45 so-called “Listen and Learn” events, the most recent being in Preston Hollow. Schutze likes Solis, praising him as “an extremely smart champion of school reform” but also declared him to be “not a real contender.” It appears he’s trucking along and staying the course. It also helps that he had one of the best showings at last week’s mayoral forum, charming the police in the room, focusing on listening to people, and again calling for the city to reckon with past decisions that have fueled segregation and poverty.— M.G.
3) Mike Ablon
Total Votes: 609
Total Percentage of Votes: 15%
Ablon was the only candidate to miss Tuesday’s forum. He took some dings from Schutze in that column—“This is a guy from nowhere who thinks he can buy it” and “he’s not out there doing the hard and dirty work like forums and show-ups, but he has a zillion bucks worth of ads up on TV”—but I think his team would tell you he’s been working more behind the scenes, making targeted phone calls, block-walking in northeast Dallas, having in-person meetings with voters in Oak Cliff. There is the reality that nine people on stage is a challenging setting to talk real policy, after all. And, yes, he is currently the only candidate with television ads booked. — M.G.
4) Scott Griggs
Total Votes: 492
Total Percentage of Votes: 12%
Griggs has a target on his back. That much was clear from last week’s mayoral forum, when any and every one piled on him as often as they could. He’s Schutze’s guy through and through, so expect plenty of gushing in the Observer. The Dallas Morning News again brought up the time the former city attorney tried to get him charged with a felony for threatening the assistant city secretary; a grand jury tossed that, and police determined there was not enough evidence to pursue anything. To Schutze’s point, The News’ editorial board phrased its version of events quite differently. Griggs, who has been known as a hawk for details and advocated for transparency, had to further distance himself from one of his political donors, who was caught (allegedly) bribing one of Griggs’ colleagues to get an affordable housing complex tax credits. “This also underscores why the City of Dallas needed a Comprehensive Housing Policy for so long,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “This corruption occurred pre-Policy. The Policy sets the standards publicly for approving projects and reduces the opportunity for corruption.” He wrote into the newspaper this week to protest its presentation of facts regarding his acceptance of campaign donations. — M.G.
5) Jason Villalba
Total Votes: 488
Total Percentage of Votes: 12%
Villalba is throwing bombs. It seems like he’s been calling for Griggs to drop out of the race since his own campaign announcement. (Most recently: “I, for the third time, am asking for his resignation from public office and for him to withdraw from his candidacy to be the mayor of this city. Dallas must excise the decay that has infiltrated City Hall. That must start today. Of course, all of the other candidates for mayor are too afraid to actually call for action.”) He told Schutze that Eric Johnson is “a known militant, a known bomb-thrower, and an individual who will unquestionably take the City Council of Dallas back into the dark ages of what we have seen in the past decades of Dallas politics.” He later tried to take his comments back. Villalba, a Republican, seems to be speaking to the right-leaning voters in the city. He’s advocated for charter schools, for collaborating with the Legislature, and decried spending public money on taking down the Confederate monuments. He went block-walking in Lake Highlands this weekend. — M.G.
6) Regina Montoya
Total Votes: 425
Total Percentage of Votes: 10%
Montoya’s public statements tend to paint in broad strokes, and they’ve failed to get much media attention when there are so many candidates to account for. A blasé forum performance didn’t change that. She’s gotten a little more specific on Facebook recently, hitting on topics like affordable housing and campaign ethics. One recent campaign victory is that she sprung for the Whole Foods King Cake as a reward for campaign volunteers. Had she gone to Kroger, you could’ve kissed her mayoral hopes goodbye. — Shawn Shinneman
7) Lynn McBee
Total Votes: 187
Total Percentage of Votes: 5%
Schutze grouped Montoya and McBee together as “the wealthy volunteers.” McBee’s website appears focused on tweaking that narrative, pumping the things she says people have been surprised to find out about her along the campaign trail—that she’s a former research scientist and that she’s the chief executive of Young Women’s Preparatory Network. McBee, who crept in late to Tuesday’s forum, was at some sort of intimate—or maybe just poorly attended—campaign event over the weekend. She ran through her talking points on Inside Texas Politics. — S.S.
8) Eric Johnson
Total Votes: 177
Total Percentage of Votes: 4%
Nobody has played the campaign ethics angle harder than Johnson, who boasts his service as former vice chair of the Texas Lege’s Ethics Committee. On Tuesday night, he noted the accountability flaws in policing campaign ethics violations. When the Davis and Hamilton indictments hit, he doubled down. Johnson got lots of play in Schutze’s take, but it called him a stooge. He also took his turn on Inside Texas Politics, and has been campaigning in Preston Hollow and block walking. — S.S.
9) Alyson Kennedy
Total Votes: 70
Total Percentage of Votes: 2%
Kennedy, who represents the Socialist Workers Party, is not like any other candidate. That was clear on Tuesday night, as just about every question turned into a dispatch about the powers that be. Her take on policing—that cops exist “to keep us thinking we’re worthless”—resulted in a verbal response from one police officer in the back of the room, as well as a few of them walking out. She summed up her views on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics.