All you have to do is look at the number of candidate forums to realize campaign season is in full swing. Since our last post a week ago, we count four. Albert Black, Scott Griggs, and Regina Montoya made it to all of them. The larger events were a Monday Night Politics forum and a debate hosted by the Mayor’s Star Council, each featuring seven candidates.
The headlines are telling, as well. This week, a 2015 incident involving Griggs and then assistant city secretary Bilierae Johnson made the media rounds. The Dallas Observer’s Jim Schutze has already managed to piss off most of the field. You have a full slate of candidate questionnaires up at WFAA, and in lighter news, a handful of candidates opined about food and restaurants.
Quick refresher: we have weekly polls going leading up to the May 4 election. We close the polls at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, and post the results every Monday. In that same post (the very post you’re reading right now), we’ll sum up the happenings of each candidate over the last week and hit you with a new poll. When it’s all over, we name D Magazine’s mayor of Dallas.
Below are last week’s results, with a nod to the week prior. We have movement, but not at the top. You’ll find a more top-level discussion of all the candidates here and last week’s post here.
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1) Albert Black
Total Votes: 1,097
Last Week: 992 (1)
Black was the only candidate to get more votes this week than during week one. At Monday’s mayoral forum at the African American Museum in Fair Park, he talked about his nearby upbringing. “We walked around and we went home, safe; because the neighborhoods were safe then — much different today, those same neighborhoods. They’ve been neglected. Those same neighborhoods have not been kept in a manner that they should,” he said, according to a report from the North Dallas Gazette. He talked to the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans and met with journalism students at Skyline High School. On Facebook, he pushed for a housing trust fund for new affordable housing and for the city to put Community Development Block Grant money to work. — Shawn Shinneman
2) Miguel Solis
Total Votes: 576
Last Week: 667 (2)
Solis’ team of volunteers continue to mobilize through Dallas, knocking on doors and hosting “listen and learn” events. He says the team will be out every day from now until election day. Solis made good use of his time at Friday night’s Mayor’s Star Council forum, according to the DMN. He’s all in on Dallas tacos (who isn’t?), and says El Come Taco and Tacos Mariachi are his favorite spots. — S.S.
3) Mike Ablon
Total Votes: 458
Last Week: 609 (3)
Ablon appeared at two forums last week after being the only candidate to miss the previous week’s event. The DMN’s synopsis of Friday night says he copped to having difficulty explaining issues within the two-minute allotments. No doubt that forums are flawed, but you won’t hear similar admissions from the group’s more tried and true orators. Ablon, however, continues to get his message out on the airwaves and in TV commercials. He has a radio ad about his “hard-line stance” on ethics. — S.S.
4) Scott Griggs
Total Votes: 292 votes
Last Week: 492 (4)
Why do I get the feeling that Griggs’ weekly recaps are going to be the longest all campaign season? Last week, the mayor jumped back into the 2015 incident involving Griggs and Johnson. The disputed claim is that Griggs threatened to break Johnson’s “f—ing fingers” if she posted public documents. Rawlings says Schutze’s “false and inflammatory” coverage of the event incorrectly casts Johnson as a liar. The Morning News put out a weekend editorial under the headline, “Why is there one woman Dallas progressives won’t believe?” And then, this morning, the Observer fired back with a piece written in two parts, one by its editor Patrick Williams and the other by Schutze. Williams accuses Rawlings, who he deems “Mayor Mansplainer,” of sexism. Schutze hops back into the details of the case. Griggs seems to be keeping his head down. He released a four-part plan for ethics and transparency and is pushing an ordinance to require diaper-change stations in new and remodeled restaurants as well as retail spaces. He attended three debates. — S.S.
5) Eric Johnson
Total Votes: 162 votes
Last Week: 177
Recent news of more City Hall corruption generated spicy rhetoric from several candidates, but Johnson’s short climb up our list might have something to do with his unique ability to actually do something. Give them this: his camp moved quickly. Former Councilwoman Carolyn Davis’ entered a guilty plea on a Friday, admitting to taking $40,000 in bribes related to low income housing tax credits. By Monday, Johnson was in front of journalists in Austin explaining his plan. HB 4370—which he filed by end of week—would remove elected officials from the process of awarding the credits. There were few details about how this would actually work within the extremely convoluted world of affordable housing, but it seems to strip the city of a lot of the power it spent years trying to point in the right direction, culminating in last year’s comprehensive housing policy. Tax credits are not the only thing addressed in the policy, but they’re a significant piece. Filing legislation to meet Friday’s Texas Lege deadline—he also filed on homelessness and the environment—meant Johnson missed the Friday night forum. His team block walked in West Dallas on Saturday. — S.S.
6) Regina Montoya
Total Votes: 82
Last Week: 425 (6)
This week, Regina Montoya’s campaign sent an email to reporters announcing how she plans to “solve the city’s affordable and low-cost housing challenges.” She’s going to ask the city manager to create a position for someone who will be dedicated to housing and housing alone. She’s offered her $80,000 mayoral salary to pay for it, but that will still likely require some buy-in from the council: assistant city managers make between $187,000 and $248,000, according to the Texas Tribune’s public employee database. She mentioned her idea briefly at the forum at Fair Park. Currently, housing is one of the duties belonging to the Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services, an assistant city manager position. And there is also David Noguera, the director of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. Would she spin those duties off? Would this person have a staff? Is the current structure not getting the job done? Here’s what her spokeswoman had to say to these questions: “Regina wants a laser focus on creating more affordable housing, and lower and middle market rate housing. She sees this as one of the most critical challenges we face as a city. She would ask the City Manager to create an additional position, at his discretion, focused solely on generating real progress on this problem. This is more a question of focus and adding more to the effort than radical change in direction. Bottom line, she is offering to forgo her salary to put that money to work on this issue.” — Matt Goodman
7) Jason Villalba
Total Votes: 47
Last Week: 488 (5)
Villalba fell hard in our poll amid his torched-earth approach and following some unflattering press from the Dallas Observer, which we discussed last week. He’s consistently been the most willing to go on the attack. That said, the DMN noted a change in tone among all the candidates at Friday night’s forum and said Villalba got the most laughs. Maybe that means he’ll stop hurling grenades; maybe it doesn’t (he did have one for Schutze on Friday). He continues to make police a centerpiece of his agenda, evidenced by comments at forums as well as his social media activity. — S.S.
8) Lynn McBee
Total Votes: 47
Last Week: 187 (7)
We took a stroll through Highland Park last week and noted McBee’s status as Parkies’ campaign-sign favorite. That won’t surprise anyone who is aware she lived in Highland Park until last summer. On Facebook, on International Women’s Day, McBee took the opportunity to call out Schutze’s labeling of herself and Regina Montoya as “wealthy volunteers.” McBee, who is CEO of the nonprofit Young Women’s Preparatory Network, says Mayor Mike Rawlings never got that label even though the former Pizza Hut CEO was chairing the Park Board and homeless shelter The Bridge. “Words matter. How we talk about each other matters. We should be lifting and supporting women who seek to break down barriers,” wrote McBee. — S.S.
9) Alyson Kennedy
Total Votes: 14 votes
Last Week: 70
Kennedy missed Friday night’s forum but emphasized her consistent messaging as a Socialist Workers Party candidate on Monday. “We’re running in this election to represent the millions of people — small farmers, small proprietors — that are not part of the so-called ‘economic recovery,’” she said, according to the North Dallas Gazette. — S.S.