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We Ran into Warring Council Candidates Philip Kingston and Bobby Abtahi at a Bar. Awkward!

"Photo" "Illustration" by Eric Nicholson.
"Photo" "Illustration" by Eric Nicholson.

There wasn't much interest in the City Council elections this year, evidenced mainly by the fact that hardly anybody showed up to vote in them. We don't blame you. It was a Saturday, and there were probably waffles somewhere.

But the runoff election in District 14 between Bobby Abtahi and Philip Kingston has gotten pretty lively, what with the spirited mudslinging on both sides and in our comments section.

But what this race is really missing is high-profile endorsements. Razzle-dazzle ones. Sure, Kingston has the backing of current District 14 council member Angela Hunt, and Abtahi has former council members Veletta Lill and Craig Holcomb. But nobody cares about those. The real question is, who would brilliant rapper, new father and high-profile weed enthusiast Wiz Khalifa vote for?

Last night, for a brief moment, it looked like Bobby Abtahi was retweeting an endorsement from Khalifa. He totally wasn't, but it gave us an idea, and an opportunity to contribute to an incredibly awkward moment between the candidates at a Deep Ellum bar. More on that in a sec.

Around 7:30 last night, Abtahi tweeted this:

Despite his Twitter handle, "imwizkhalifa" is actually Khalil Coffield, a Texas A&M Corpus Christi student, singer, and big Justin Bieber fan. But because I was very tired, I thought for two seconds that Abtahi had somehow gotten the coveted Khalifa endorsement. I was really excited, and more than a little confused. I tweeted at Abtahi asking if he was going to issue a press release. Two seconds later, I realized that I'm an idiot. Trying to save a little face, I added, "You and your opponent should both start getting rappers' endorsements." Abtahi promptly replied:

Yes. Awesome. I then suggested to both men that they also consider trying to get Chuck Norris on board. Abtahi had this to say:

Meanwhile, Kingston told me he's already got the "martial arts actors" endorsement on lock:

Clearly not the same as the Chuck Norris Seal of Approval, but a good first step nonetheless. (Also, it's cute how the two of them avoid tweeting directly at each other. Great stuff.)

With promises secured from both candidates to pursue these very important endorsements, my manfriend and I stepped out around 11:30 to get dinner. On our way, we popped into the Twilite Lounge , Danny Balis and Jess Barr's new upscaleish-looking dive in Deep Ellum. It was really nice. Red booths, dim lighting, chandeliers -- and both Philip Kingston and Bobby Abtahi.

Kingston was chatting quietly at the bar with his wife, Melissa. I caught a glimpse of Abtahi as he and a group of guys in loosened ties disappeared outside onto the bar's back patio.

I realized then, with absolute delight, that both candidates had been tweeting at me from the same small dive, while apparently trying to avoid each other. My manfriend and I started laughing uproariously, drawing disdainful glances from the coterie of hipsters at the end of the bar.

I immediately retrieved my camera and set about trying to get both candidates in the same photo. It proved impossible. They were like two very polite negatively charged particles. Instead, I settled for a waving hello to Abtahi, who made sort of a pleasant, "Yeah I know this is awkward"-type grimace. He then called over, just as pleasantly, something to the effect of, "It's off the record that we were at a bar."

Ha ha, no. Solid effort though.

With that accomplished, we left the bar. The Kingstons were leaving at the same time. We said hi. Melissa Kingston looked far happier than the last time I'd seen her, at a hearing against Avi Adelman back in December.

"Was that awkward?" I asked.

"What?" Mr. Kingston replied.

"Bobby Abtahi was in there," I said.

"Oh, he was?" Kingston does a good surprised face. "We didn't notice."

Of course not.

In any case, there are a few morals to this story. One: If neither candidate wins the Norris/Khalifa endorsement by June 15, this election has been a total failure. Two: At any given moment, your candidates are probably tweeting from a bar. The same bar, with any luck.


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