It's still a long shot for sure, but the Dallas Green Alliance's path to eight votes against the Trinity toll road on the Dallas City Council is coming into focus. The DGA, a pro-environment PAC expressly formed to get toll road opponents elected, announced its endorsements Friday, along with plans to distribute at least $15,000 to their campaigns.
There are four decided votes against the Trinity toll road on the council right now. Scott Griggs (District 1), Adam Medrano (District 2), Sandy Greyson (District 12) and Philip Kingston (District 14). The Dallas Green Alliance has endorsed candidates in what are expected to be the seven most contested council races and the mayoral race. Four of those races are shaping up to be the ground that this election is fought over.
District 3 District 3 is Vonciel Jones Hill's seat. She's an ardent supporter of the toll road, but she's term-limited. Casey Thomas is her handpicked successor. Griggs and Kingston got involved in this race early, endorsing high school teacher Joe Tave, a consistent opponent of the toll road. As the race has developed, attorney Wini Cannon has emerged as another strong voice against the road. Cannon got the DGA endorsement. Tave has Griggs, Kingston and the Stonewall Democrats in his corner. In a five-person field with no incumbent, a runoff is almost guaranteed. That runoff, it it's between Thomas and Tave or Cannon, will be a mini-referendum on the toll road.
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District 4 District 4 is weird but reasonably simple. Dwaine Caraway, who represents the district and is term-limited, has endorsed Carolyn Arnold. Arnold is against the toll road. In her answers to the DGA's candidate questionnaire, she appeared to hedge on the issue, but after she interviewed with the PAC's endorsement committee it gave her its endorsement. Like District 3, District 4 has a crowded field, but with Caraway's weight behind her Arnold might be able to avoid a runoff.
District 5 The only race with an incumbent running that DGA is getting into is District 5. The Pleasant Grove district is represented by Rick Callahan, who is staunchly pro-toll road. In 2013, Callahan only got 545 votes in the general election, so he's seen by many as vulnerable. Sherry Cordova has the support of the DGA and the Stonewall Democrats.
District 9 Sheffie Kadane's District 9 features a race that is setting up much like District 3's. Darren Boruff, a former park board member, has taken Mike Rawlings' "we don't know what the road looks like" position. Mark Clayton, an insurance business owner and community activist, has been endorsed by Griggs, Kingston and now, the DGA. Sam Merten, the mayor's former communications chief is, like Clayton, against the toll road, which means the anti-toll road vote could be split, making a runoff a distinct possibility.
In the other races in which the DGA made an endorsement -- 7, 8, 10 and the mayoral contest -- the path to victory is less clear for the anti-toll road candidates. That's not to say an upset couldn't happen, but it's an even bigger task. The DGA endorsed Hasani Burton in District 7, Eric Williams in District 8, James White in District 10 and Marcos Ronquillo for mayor.