Mayoral Race or Girlfight?

So let's keep trying to narrow our focus on the who-can-beat-Laura runway show. I have blogged in recent weeks that certain people in the business community are devoutly interested in finding a candidate who could knock Laura Miller out of the mayor's job in the May 2007 election. I'm working on finding out more about who those interests might be. So far, I think it's Ray Hunt and anybody Ray Hunt can boss around--which, you know, means everybody, at least until the fat's in the fire.

I said before that the thinking seems to be it has to be a woman. Why? The best I can get is a kind of screwball deformation of old-line sexism, by which people think only a woman can run against Laura because men are too gentlemanly to beat her up the way she needs it. So let's get some big old broad to do it.

I'm not opposed to this. I happen to go for girl fights. It's just that last time I saw the Hunt people down at City Hall fighting Miller on a tax abatement for Mr. Hunt, I didn't notice a whole lot of gentlemanly self-restraint. Maybe the men who have gone up against her in the past just don't want to get beat up in public by a girl again.

I can understand that. I think it's embarrassing for a man to get beat up by a girl.

The additional focus I can offer now is a sentiment that it has to be a woman who has actual on-the-ground City Hall experience so that she can hold her own in a debate with Miller. And I can see that too. Tom Dunning, whom Miller beat in 2002, is a good guy, honest as the day is long, but didn't even know anything about his own campaign, let alone City Hall. That sort of reflected the old-line Dallas philosophy of, "Details are for people who don't know how to play golf." I don't think that works in a debate. At least not a debate with Miller.

But if this is what they're looking for--a woman with City hall experience--then that does bring us in closer to former councilperson Veletta Lill. She'd be a good debater, and I'm all for that. I like a good girl debate.

So let's get up real close to May 2007. What happens? Miller has told me she plans to campaign hard in southern Dallas. She didn't say this, but I suspect she sees cracks in that solid-south hate-Miller thing. She might be looking at the recent legislative race in which Jesse Jones, an icon of South Dallas, was knocked off by a hard-working maverick, Barbara Mallory Caraway. Maybe there's a way Miller can step in around the old leadership and split South Dallas.

What if she can split the business community too? She could go to a lot of people and say, "Don't put all your eggs in Ray Hunt's nasty little basket. Because I'm gonna win." That might get them thinking.

If she gets the Laura Miller vote and splits the supposedly anti-Miller camps, then she's really hard to beat, even by a girl with debating experience. It's a long way off, and anything could happen. Even cross-dressing. But I haven't heard that. Yet. --Jim Schutze

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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