Real estate broker and international trade consultant Edward Okpa has submitted the necessary 357 signatures of registered Dallas voters required to run for mayor, joining David Kunkle and Ron Natinsky on the May 14 ballot. Former Park Board president Mike Rawlings has also announced his candidacy, but he hasn't submitted his petitions yet. (Update: Rawlings handed them in this morning.) The deadline for city council candidates to officially file is Monday at 5 p.m.
Okpa, the only minority candidate in the mayor's race thus far, ran unsuccessfully for the gig in 2003 and 2007. He placed third in a field of five in 2003 but received less than 3 percent of the votes with 1,999. Okpa four years later would finish last with only 429 votes among 11 candidates that included the late Jennifer Gale.
He aims to implement DEEP (no, not the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project), which, in a press release sent to Unfair Park, will "move the city forward socially and economically." The Dallas Economic Empowerment Plan addresses public safety, the budget, new jobs and job retention, neighborhood revitalization, international trade and educational training.
"It is time to move the city forward, and my plan does that," he said in the release.
Okpa's campaign kick-off is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. in front of City Hall. We can only hope to hear all four versions of his campaign ad, or, at the very least, the first jazz offering.