Okpa Out, But Not Down

The city's finding one way to narrow the mayoral wannabe field: by disqualifying all the interesting left-field candidates, including Edward Okpa.

Edward Okpa, my favorite long-shot candidate for Dallas mayor, has been thrown off the ballot after the City Secretaty's office found he didn't submit enough signatures to qualify. (He needed 473 signatures; the city says he's six shy of that magic number.) Okpa, however, says that he was thrown off the ballot in his last run for mayor in 2003, only to be re-instated shortly after.

"My lawyer is talking to them today," he tells Unfair Park. "It's going to be resolved. I'll be on the ballot, golly." (Zac Crain, tossed off the ballot last week, is saying the same thing and expects a resolution some time today.)

Still, this is probably as good a time as any to revise my inititial run-down of the most-electable candidates. That's after the jump.

First, let's make it a top seven and take Okpa off. Second, we're going to have to move Ed Oakley into a first-place tie with Don Hill. Again, remember all the caveats from Friday, the first of which is that I may very well have no idea what I'm talking about. And I still don't think Oakley comes off well at these debates, often seeming a little too smug without an appealing vision of leadership. ("You have to be able to count to eight," he keeps on saying.)

But Oakley might be the right candidate for this type of mayor's race. That's because if turnout is as low as expected, a savvy, precinct-by-precinct council member like Oakley will benefit since he can turn out the vote. Perhaps most impressively, Oakley can count on a broad base of support - from his district in the southern sector to the gay neighborhoods in Oak Lawn to parts of North Dallas. Bill Blaydes tells Unfair Park that even though he doesn't agree with Oakley's lifestyle, he digs his politics.

"I'm absolutely in support of Ed Oakley," says the council member. "He has been involved in every major project the city has been involved in the last year. He doesn't have to learn about it, he doesn't have to be told about it, he can just do it."

Of course, to some, Oakley's exhuberant support of City Hall's big ticket projects -- from the Trinity to the most recent bond package -- is exactly the reason why he shouldn't be mayor. I just don't think those people know how to vote. --Matt Pulle

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