Put aside any thoughts you had about the 2015 Dallas mayoral election being competitive. Mike Rawlings is running again.
Just before his annual "State of the City" speech Tuesday, Rawlings formally revealed to The Dallas Morning News the poorly kept secret that he'll be on the ballot in May.
He will face a much easier task in seeking a second four years than he did in 2011, when he overcame a crowded field and a runoff with former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle to win his first term. Rawlings showed he was a formidable fundraiser in that race, collecting $1.5 million, more than three times as much cash as anyone else in the race.
This time around, it's unlikely that Rawlings will face any serious opposition. Only Marcos Ranquillo, a Dallas attorney, and ever-present joke candidate Richard Sheridan have announced they are running so far, and Rawlings' announcement is certain to stymie many other potential additions to the ballot.
In his first term, he has spearheaded campaigns to stamp out domestic violence in Dallas, thrown his support behind the immensely unpopular Trinity toll road and promoted attempts to bridge Dallas' north/south gap, but has nothing concrete that he can point to as a signature accomplishment.
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Philip Kingston, who represents District 14 on the City Council and is part of a group of council members -- along with Sandy Greyson, Scott Griggs and Adam Medrano -- who have provided much of the opposition to Rawlings on things like the toll road, says that he hopes the council and the mayor can work together after the election.
"I have great faith in the ability of people to learn, change and improve, myself included," he says. "I am hopeful in the mayor's second term that the mayor will -- perhaps with the help of some new members on council -- see the wisdom of building a park instead of a road and, in a larger sense, will be more committed to those quality of life issues, those bottom up, grass roots issues that I think make life better for people in Dallas."
Embedded in Kingston's hopes is a warning. Those new members of the council he mentions are guaranteed. Six current council members -- Jerry Allen, Dwaine Caraway, Carolyn Davis, Vonciel Jones Hill, Tennell Atkins and Sheffie Kadane -- can't run in 2015 because of term limits. None of them are against the toll road. Two of the prominent announced candidates for those seats -- Joe Tave, who's running for Hill's District 3 spot and Sam Merten, who wants to replace Kadane in District 9 -- are against the toll road and seem likely members of the Greyson-Griggs-Kingston-Medrano coalition.
In a weak mayor system like Dallas -- as Laura Miller and others have learned -- getting things done comes down to math. We're about to see whether Rawlings can count to eight.