The probability that Mayor Tom Leppert finishes his term before launching a U.S. Senate campaign is about the same as Jerry Jones relinquishing his role as general manager. In other words, it ain't happening. Clearly, Leppert wanted to remain mayor during the Super Bowl -- a decision he may be regretting right about now -- but starting Monday, there's really no reason for him to stick around.
As we discussed back in December 2008, Leppert's departure opens the door for Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway to take over the gig until the winner of the May 14 election (or most likely the June 18 runoff) is inaugurated on June 27.
Caraway tells us that he and Leppert haven't discussed the mayor's plans, but if Leppert does bolt early, Caraway says he's "prepared to move forward." (He's already talking like the mayor.)
"Should that time come, of course, we're ready," he says.
Caraway has already removed himself from the race to replace Leppert, with council member Ron Natinsky and former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle as the only announced candidates thus far. Which leaves council member Angela Hunt and Park Board chair Mike Rawlings as the other two top would-bes, at least for the moment. (Rawlings supporters have said privately he wouldn't announce his decision till after the Super Bowl, while Hunt is playing her cards a little closer to the vest.)
We've also heard that Caraway's ready to support Natinsky, but he says not so fast. "It's important that that person, whoever he or she may be, has the same type of commitment in representing all citizens of Dallas to the best of his or her ability on behalf of everybody."
When we asked him whether he thought Dr. Frederick Haynes or another minority candidate would emerge, Caraway said race doesn't matter to him at all. He's just looking to back the best candidate.
"I'll eventually land my plane somewhere and make that publicly known, but I like Natinsky at this point," he says. "I think we just have to wait it out and see what happens. And whoever it is that I endorse, I'm gonna work like hell to make sure they get in there. You can believe me on that."
And what about that Archie and Arthur incident?
"I have no comment about that," he says.
Can't blame us for trying.
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