City Hall

Former Chief Kunkle For Dallas Mayor? Maybe.

At the beginning of the week, former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle had no intention of running for Dallas mayor. Today, he tells Unfair Park, that has changed.

While the 60-year-old Kunkle says he remains unsure of what he will do, chances are "greater that I will run than I won't run. The nature of my personality is, if I didn't think there was a probability, I would just shut everything down."

Kunkle says he was approached earlier this week by people he wouldn't name who thought him an ideal candidate -- not least of all, he says, because of his tenure as assistant city manager in Arlington. Kunkle says they convinced him to at least consider a run.

"This is probably one of the more unusual mayoral campaigns so far, I am guessing, because of the time frame and questions about who's in and who's out," he says, referring to the fact that only two candidates have thus far declared, and only one, council member Ron Natinsky, has any name recognition. "After people began talking to me, I believed voters needed a choice. And I was convinced I had name recognition and probably a reputation that candidates would pay a million dollars to get. While I don't have any kind of organization to put a campaign together in a matter of days, I do have something other candidates don't have."

Kunkle, who announced his retirement from law enforcement in November '09, says he will more than likely decide within the week.

"But when I talked to other people and said, 'Tell me it's a stupid idea,' they said it's just the opposite," he tells Unfair Park. "I don't know what I am going to do. In the last 24 hours I got a crash course in how to run a campaign -- how to mange it, how to raise money, who's supporting who. I don't have any kind of mailing list, any kind of campaign manager, so I am having to learn as I go. I do know this: If I run, I will be a different candidate in all sorts of different ways."

Kunkle adds: He's spent enough years around city councils and mayors to know what the job demands. And that, he says, is what's causing him to lean toward running.

"I think I probably will have more knowledge about public policy, government process, even issues like economic development, because I've spent my whole life in this arena," he says. "As Arlington city manager, I understand all of that. And I am deliberate and thoughtful. But I've never been in an environment of something like a city council. I've been in an environment where people have to follow you, rather than the collaborative nature of the city council."

He laughs.

"But people I've spoken to say that won't be a problem for me. My temperament and experience and leadership will make me a strong, viable candidate."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky