Low Voter Turnout Plagues Dallas City Council Election Results | Dallas Observer


Dallas City Council Election Results: Low Voter Turnout Steals the Show

This Dallas City Council election saw even lower voter turnout than usual.
This Dallas City Council election saw even lower voter turnout than usual. Lauren Drewes Daniels
All of the incumbents up for reelection won their races for Dallas City Council this weekend, despite the endorsements of some of their challengers by police and firefighter associations. In the wrap-up below, it might seem like we’re dealing with some small numbers. That’s because we are. Voter turnout was low this year, even by Dallas' typical low standards.

According to The Dallas Morning News, only 8.8% of Dallas County voters cast ballots in this election. That’s slightly lower than the turnout in 2019 and 2021, which hovered around 9%. If you ask Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, he can’t believe the lack of voter interest and resulting low turnout.

“This city voter apathy is unbelievable,” Mata said.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson ran unopposed and received 93.02% of the vote. Write-in candidate Kendal Richardson got 552 votes, or 1.19%. The rest of the votes went to uncertified write-in candidates.

“This victory today belongs to the people of Dallas, and I am looking forward to continuing to lead our city to even greater heights over the next four years,” Johnson wrote on social media.

Community advocates Albert Mata and Mariana Griggs challenged District 1 City Council member Chad West for his seat at City Hall. During their campaigns, Mata and Griggs both said equal representation was a key factor in their decision to run. They said the Hispanic and Latino communities in District 1 didn’t feel they had a voice under West’s leadership. West is a white man, and some 86% of people in his district identify as Hispanic and Latino, according to the city. West still won his reelection with 2,132 votes, or just over 52% of the ballots cast. Griggs collected 346 votes, or 8.46%, and Mata 1,613, or 39.4%.

In an email to residents Monday morning, West wrote, “I’m honored to have been reelected to represent District 1 as Council Member for another two years, and I’m looking forward to jumping back into policy work and continuing to improve efficiencies at the city.”

In District 2, Sukhbir Kaur challenged incumbent Jesse Moreno. Kaur said she was running because it seemed the district was becoming complicit when it came to issues like homelessness, litter and public safety under Moreno’s leadership. Moreno captured 1,855 votes or nearly 85% to Kaur’s 331 votes (15%).

“This city voter apathy is unbelievable.” – Mike Mata, Dallas Police Association

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The race for Dallas City Council’s District 3 seat will go to a runoff election in June because none of the five candidates received more than 50% of the vote.

August Doyle, a longtime resident of Dallas and former City Council candidate, ran for the District 3 seat this year and earned 104 votes, or 3.45%. In a post on Facebook, Doyle wrote: “I want to thank the persons who voted for me and contributed money to my campaign. I will still do what I can to improve the quality of life in District 3.”

Denise Benavides, a community advocate who ran for the seat in 2019, received 10.51% of the votes this time around, not too far behind John David Sims, a 13-year resident of the district who also ran.

The District 3 runoff next month will be between candidates Zarin Gracey, an executive pastor at Concord Church, and Joe Tave, a radio host and retired teacher. Gracey, who has been endorsed by the outgoing City Council member Casey Thomas, received 1,394 votes, or 46.22%; Tave received 777 votes, or 25.76%. The runoff election will take place on June 10.

Even though the Dallas Police Association and Dallas Fire Fighters Association endorsed her opponent, incumbent City Council member Carolyn King Arnold won her reelection to the District 4 seat. Jamie Smith, an accountant and community advocate, received 911 votes, or 35.12% to Arnold’s 1,683 votes, or 64.88%.

These associations also endorsed challengers to the incumbents in Districts 6 and 14, but the incumbents prevailed. While they didn’t have the endorsement of DPA and the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, the incumbents in these three races were endorsed by the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and the Dallas chapter of National Latino Law Enforcement Organization.

In District 5, incumbent Jaime Resendez faced two candidates, Terry Perkins and Yolanda Faye Williams. Resendez won with 863 votes, or 53% of the votes. Perkins received 451 votes, or 28%, and Williams 296 votes, or 18.39%.

The DPA and Dallas Fire Fighters Association backed former City Council member Monica R. Alonzo for the District 6 seat to replace incumbent Omar Narvaez. But Narvaez beat her by 254 votes. Alonzo received 638 votes, or 38.11%, to Narvaez’s 892 votes, or 53.29%. Also running for the District 6 seat were first-time candidate Sidney Robles-Martinez and Tony Carrillo, a developer and former City Council candidate. They each won fewer than 40 votes.

District 7
will also keep its City Council member, Adam Bazaldua, for a third term. Bazaldua got 1,285 votes, or 51.56%, to beat three challengers. Tracy Dotie Hill, a Realtor and longtime resident of the district; Okema Thomas, former Dallas Independent School District employee and South Dallas resident; and local activist Marvin E. Crenshaw all ran against Bazaldua to no avail.

Hill received 988 votes, or 39.65%. Crenshaw finished third with 150 votes, or 6.02%, and Thomas won 69 votes, or 2.77%.

Dallas City Council member Tennell Atkins will continue representing District 8 after beating Subrina Brenham and Davante Peters, two community advocates and business owners. The two also lost to Atkins in 2021. They said they were running because of crime rates and long police response times in the district. But Atkins took home most of the votes on election day and during early voting.

More than 1,500 people cast their ballot for Atkins, earning him over 78% of the vote. Brenham received 353 votes, or 17.53%, and Peters got 78 votes, or 3.87%.

“This victory today belongs to the people of Dallas." – Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson

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In District 9, incumbent Paula Blackmon readily won reelection. Her opponent, Kendra Denise Madison, said she was running to reduce crime and prevent homelessness in the district. She earned 957 votes, or 20.29%, to Blackmon’s 3,720 votes, or 79.71%.

District 10 was destined for new representation on the council as the current council member, Adam McGough, has reached his term limit. Kathy Stewart, a resident of District 10 for more than 40 years, will succeed McGough after defeating three other candidates for the seat this weekend. Stewart was the executive director of the Lake Highlands Public Improvement District from 2014 to 2019. She served the same position for the North Lake Highlands Public Improvement District in 2018 and 2019.

She received 3,879 votes, or 67.87%. Brian Hasenbauer, a 17-year resident of the district, has served on one city commission and two committees in that time. He won 1,102 votes, or 19.28%. Another longtime resident of the district, Chris Carter, came in third with 641 votes, or 11.22%. Sirrano Keith Baldeo also ran for the seat, as he did in 2019 and 2021. He earned 93 votes, or 1.63%.

In District 11, where the Valley View Center mall site is a key issue, the incumbent Jaynie Schultz beat Candace Evans, a former candidate and publisher of candysdirt.com. Development of the former Valley View Center property has been stalled for years, leaving it open to break-ins, vandalism and fires.

Schultz told the Observer that getting the mall torn down has been one of her toughest challenges as a City Council member. Evans said the mall would have been on the right track if she were elected years ago. If elected this time, she said she would have gotten it taken care of through organizing a task force and working with the developer. Schultz won with 3,905 votes, or 58.63%. Evans won 2,755 votes, or 41.37%.

In District 12, incumbent Cara Mendelsohn ran unopposed.

Priscilla Shacklett, a former real estate agent, tried to unseat District 13 City Council member Gay Donnell Willis, claiming Willis hasn’t cracked down on short-term rentals and isn’t focused enough on public safety. Willis went into election day with endorsements from the DPA, Dallas Fire Fighters Association, the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Black Firefighters Association, and won with 5, 226 votes, or 67.1%. Shacklett received 2,562 votes, or 32.9%.

District 14 City Council member Paul Ridley didn’t earn the endorsements of the DPA or Dallas Fire Fighters Association, but he did earn another term in the seat. He was up against former Park Board representative Amanda Schulz and Joseph F. Miller, a retired transit engineer. Schulz got 1,841 votes, or 33%. Miller received 250 votes, or 4.48%. Ridley won with 3,488 votes, or 62.52%.

Jim McDade, president of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, told the Observer that although all of the group's candidates didn’t win, the association is looking forward to working with everybody who won a seat. He added, “As long as Cara Mendelsohn and Mayor Johnson are at City Hall the city is in good hands.”
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn

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