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Mayoral candidates Scott Griggs, right, and Eric Johnson engaged in a debate at the Belo Mansion last month.EXPAND
Mayoral candidates Scott Griggs, right, and Eric Johnson engaged in a debate at the Belo Mansion last month.
Jim Schutze

As Early Voting Winds Down, Here’s What We Know About Dallas’ Runoffs

For the literally hundreds of Dallas voters who are tuned in to the city's municipal politics, Saturday's mayoral and City Council runoffs have turned into entertaining scraps over the last week or so. There have been secret tapes, accusations of illegal electioneering and more Facebook fights than one could count. Scott Griggs and his supporters in the mayor's race are desperately trying to finish off a project eight years in the making, and Dallas' old, conservative business elite is trying just as hard to maintain its stranglehold on the city's top job by electing their candidate, state Rep. Eric Johnson.

Down ballot, Griggs ally Philip Kingston and real estate financier David Blewett are fighting a pitched battle for the council seat that represents downtown Dallas and Uptown, as well as portions of East Dallas and Oak Lawn. Lakewood and Far East Dallas' District 9 is another old-versus-new fight, with progressive Erin Moore taking on Paula Blackmon, a former adviser to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Likewise for the runoff in District 7, which sees former council member Tiffinni Young trying to win back her Fair Park seat against Adam Bazaldua, who has never held public office. 

Mortgage banker David Blewett is challenging two-term incumbent Philip Kingston for the District 14 City Council seat representing East Dallas and downtown.EXPAND
Mortgage banker David Blewett is challenging two-term incumbent Philip Kingston for the District 14 City Council seat representing East Dallas and downtown.
Jim Schutze

Depending on how things go this weekend, Griggs could have a chance to lead Dallas with the help of at least eight friendly votes on the council, or Johnson could oversee a group looking to return to a time when dissent on the council was muted, polite and rare.

Here's what we know headed into Tuesday, the last day of voting before election day on Saturday:

According to Dallas County data helpfully compiled by CJ Gresh, one of the moderators of the Reform Dallas Facebook group, 29,802 voters had cast ballots in Dallas' mayoral election through Sunday. That's about 37% of the 80,735 who voted in May's first-round election, with two days of early voting and election day still to come.  Of those nearly 30,000 votes, the largest chunks have come from District 14, the home of the Blewett-Kingston showdown (4,394), North Dallas' traditionally high-turnout District 13 (4,250) and District 9 (3,777). District 14 and District 9 both cover areas that turned out well for Griggs in the first round of voting. District 13 was dominated by two candidates who didn't make the runoff, Lynn McBee and Mike Ablon. But it figures to be Johnson-friendly, given the fact that he's been endorsed by a bevy of North Dallas power brokers, including Jennifer Staubach Gates, District 13's popular incumbent council member.

Dallas' 2019 first-round mayoral vote
Dallas' 2019 first-round mayoral vote
Dallas County

If you want a more granular look at the early runoff vote data, Gresh has you covered with a heat map of the ballots cast so far.

Dallas City Council and mayoral runoff election early voting heat map (data through Sunday)
Dallas City Council and mayoral runoff election early voting heat map (data through Sunday)
CJ Gresh

The map looks good for Kingston. Its single-hottest spot covers Oak Lawn, a neighborhood that's sparred repeatedly with Blewett during the run-up to the election. In the rest of the city, North Oak Cliff's high turnout looks good for Griggs, while the dark green spots just north and south of Interstate 635 likely bode well for Johnson. Outside of Oak Cliff, southern Dallas is showing up to vote at a far slower rate than the rest of the city. Just 1,815 people have cast ballots so far in District 7, despite the district having a runoff for its council seat. 

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