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Dallas Mayoral Poll Week Four: Let the Big Endorsements Begin

Hillary Clinton made some news in Dallas.

It’s our first week back since that brutal Schutzian takedown of our poll on the Dallas Observer. But we recover, because that’s what we do. And plenty happened this week. Next week will be even more fun—April 4 is the deadline for reporting campaign contributions, so we’ll get a peek inside everyone’s war chest. The endorsements are coming faster now, with attorney Regina Montoya getting the nod from Hillary Clinton and Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis announcing the backing of 19 civic leaders, including the Rachofskys and a Crow.

This week, the candidates went before the Dallas Police Association and Dallas Fire Fighters Association to try and win coveted endorsements from the city’s public safety sector. Seven of them participated in a forum hosted by The Real Estate Council at Gilley’s. Appealing to those big voter blocs will be important. As Dallas Morning News political columnist Gromer Jeffers wrote today, it’s tough to tell who’s in the lead. None of the nine candidates have a particularly high profile, although Scott Griggs will certainly benefit from being well-liked in the politically active North Oak Cliff district he represents, as well as in ally Councilman Philip Kingston’s East Dallas.

Depending on turnout, it might come down to getting on the sides of the specific voter blocs that are sure to turn out at the polls. The top two vote-getters will go to the runoff. It’s certainly still looking wide open. Here’s last week’s news. Get to know your candidates, and then let’s catch you up on everyone’s week.

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    1) Albert Black

    Total Votes This Week: 973
    Last Week: 1,917 (1)

    Black, who has been atop our poll from the jump, trumpeted that fact on Facebook with one of those social media-shareable clippings that appears to be our headline. Except, he rewrote it. Come on, man! If you’re going to do that, at least keep the capitalized formatting. Black took his campaign in front of the Northwood Republican Women, the African American Pastors Coalition, and the Jubilee Recreation Center Board. In a roundup of candidate strengths and weaknesses, the DMN’s Gromer Jeffers Jr. pointed out how Eric Johnson could cut into Black’s support base. Both men are black. “That’s probably why at a couple of forums Black has turned to Johnson and asked, ‘Who sent you?’” Jeffers wrote. — Shawn Shinneman

    2) Jason Villalba

    Total Votes This Week: 771
    Last Week: 859 (3)

    What a difference a week makes. Last Monday, we wrote about Villalba’s goofy, dad-ish video where he deemed himself “Jeto,” like Beto, because of his great appeal to millennials. Since then, his campaign has more closely mirrored the sitting president’s. Villalba’s Facebook accounts lit up with combative language on Thursday night. He called one woman a snowflake. He told another he didn’t give a rat’s ass. In a plea to Dallas County Republicans, he lobbed a “mamby pamby politicians” diss at Lynn McBee and Mike Ablon. And then he blamed the comments on others with his password. (On Twitter, he said it was “an overly eager staffer attempting to speak the vernacular of the right.”) It wasn’t Villalba’s only headline of the week. He called out Jim Schutze’s characterization of his jump in votes last week, where Schutze poked at the size of Villalba’s family. “Odd that someone who calls himself a progressive would rely on age old Hispanic stereotypes (large families) to take a shot at me,” he emailed us. He seems to have had a busy week on the streets of Dallas, too, and he met with the Northwood Republican Women’s Club on Monday. — S.S.

    3) Alyson Kennedy

    Total Votes This Week: 480
    Last Week: 1,507 (2)

    Kennedy popped into my inbox this week after I wrote that I had no news to share about her campaign a week ago. She told me to keep an eye on, a Socialist newspaper tracking the campaigns of Kennedy and the other Socialist Workers Party candidates across the country. From a story dated March 25: “Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Dallas, reports that she campaigned in Northwest Dallas March 11, accompanied by Hannah Caricol and Joseph, an electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.” Kennedy elaborated in her note: “The main way I campaign is door to door in working-class neighborhoods in Dallas and in the many small towns outside of Dallas.” There you have it. — S.S.

    4) Scott Griggs

     Total Votes This Week: 303
    Last Week: 223 (6)

    The North Oak Cliff Councilman has been in the news more than his opponents, mostly as the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer trade barbs over what happened in 2015 when he allegedly threatened the assistant city secretary. She signed an affidavit saying she did not feel threatened, nor did she want the media attention, so she didn’t file charges. But the city attorney pushed police to present it to a grand jury anyway. They no-billed. Griggs is on the cover of this week’s Observer with the cover line “Target on His Back.” The piece is, as Jim Schutze describes, “a patched-together version of my original column and my replies online to the mayor and the Morning News.” He mentions recordings he posted to the Observer’s website, which include key players saying they didn’t think the incident merited criminal charges. Boy, I’m excited to use this space to write about Griggs’ rather sensible policy arguments again. Like his support of tearing out I-345 between downtown and Deep Ellum, which he declared in that TREC forum. — Matt Goodman

    5) Miguel Solis

    Total Votes This Week: 155
    Last Week: 350 (4)

    Solis texted me this photo over the weekend, with the phrase “people powered,” showing that his block walking is attracting more and more volunteers. He calls it a “kick ass grassroots organization.” Solis’ campaign this week sent out an endorsement letter signed by 19 civic leaders that notes his board appointments and his work as a Dallas ISD trustee, the youngest in the district’s history. At the TREC forum, he argued that the city is losing big employers and hasn’t done enough to preach the gospel of Dallas ISD’s turnaround. You can see here the full list of civic leaders that added their names to his endorsements. They include the art collecting philanthropists Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, entrepreneur Jorge Baldor, philanthropists Garrett and Cecilia Boone, and, interestingly, George Billingsley, whose wife, Lucy, has already endorsed Lynn McBee for mayor. It’ll be interesting to see how they split their campaign contributions. He, too, is on the side of tearing out 345. — M.G.

    6) Mike Ablon

    Total Votes This Week: 139
    Last Week: 275

    Ablon sort of accidentally found himself in the news this weekend. Longtime strategist Brian Mayes is running his campaign. Andrea Coker is a communications staffer for Mayes Media Group, which represents both of the public safety unions mentioned in the introduction. She sat in on all those interviews. McBee was the most bent out of shape about this, saying Coker’s presence was “a pretty egregious move.” “It was incumbent upon Ablon and his consultant to manage a conflict of interest, and they chose to turn it into an opportunity to gain confidential information from the other candidates,” she told The News. DPA chief Mike Mata took responsibility, and most of the candidates collectively shrugged. Ablon met with the Urban Land Institute this week and seems to be popping into a lot of bars and restaurants for meet and greets. — M.G.

    7) Eric Johnson

    Total Votes This Week: 97
    Last Week: 85 (7)

    The state rep. continues to push out his legislative agenda as proof of his priorities. His bill to take elected officials out of the process of awarding federal housing tax credits was sent to the House Committee on Urban Affairs. Jeffers pointed out Johnson’s legislative record and the fact he has support extending outside his district. Johnson’s social media channels are super spammy. — S.S.

    8) Regina Montoya

    Total Votes This Week: 89
    Last Week: 65 (9)

    Montoya got the endorsement from her friend Hillary Clinton, who she’s raised a bunch of money for in the past. She was Bill Clinton’s assistant for intergovernmental affairs in the White House in the early 1990s. Montoya helped raise more than $100,000 for her in her presidential run. She met with the Dallas chapter of Moms Demand Action, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control. She also had a meet and greet in Bluffview. — M.G.

    9) Lynn McBee

    Total Votes This Week: 64
    Last Week: 66 (9)

    McBee appeared in front of the African American Pastors Coalition, although you wouldn’t know it from her own social media activity. Where most candidates chime in several times a day, keeping their following up to date on their campaign activity, McBee has just one post over the last week. She shared a Forbes article about women supporting women. — S.S.

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