City Hall

Here Are the Dallas City Council Runoffs You Should Know About

Election Day for the runoffs is June 5. But, voters can also cast their ballots early May 24 through June 1, with the exception of Memorial Day when polls will be closed.
Election Day for the runoffs is June 5. But, voters can also cast their ballots early May 24 through June 1, with the exception of Memorial Day when polls will be closed. Wiki Commons
Races for six Dallas City Council seats are headed to runoffs this summer. Residents will be able to cast their vote in June to decide who will represent them in Districts 2, 4, 7, 11, 13 and 14. Council members in 2, 11 and 14 have met their term limits, meaning new faces will take all of those seats.

District 2
In District 2, voters will choose between former park board member Jesse Moreno and Sana Syed, an ex-Dallas city spokeswoman and current executive at a real estate investment firm. Moreno has the endorsement of Adam Medrano, the district’s incumbent. The winner will be the first person in 16 years to represent the district who doesn’t belong to the Medrano family. Jesse Moreno’s wife, Monica Moreno, however, is a member of Medrano’s city staff.

The district is 18 square miles and includes the Cedars, Deep Ellum and Oak Lawn, as well as parts of downtown and Dallas Love Field.

Medrano has said he endorsed Jesse Moreno because of his years of experience serving on city boards and commissions.

Moreno has lived in Dallas his whole life and says his priorities for District 2 include cracking down on street racing, affordable housing and public infrastructure.

click to enlarge Jesse Moreno is running to replace council member Adam Medrano in City Council's District 2. - JIM SCHUTZE
Jesse Moreno is running to replace council member Adam Medrano in City Council's District 2.
Jim Schutze

Syed wants to focus on expanding police alternatives, like sending mental health professionals to address non-emergency calls. Her priorities for the district include improvements to Dallas streets and supporting local nonprofits to help respond to homelessness.

District 4
Carolyn King Arnold, the incumbent in District 4, is up against Maxie Johnson, a DISD trustee. Both candidates want to focus on economic development and infrastructure.

Arnold has said one of the district’s greatest assets is diversity. What’s plaguing the district are quality of life disparities and a lack of equity in funding.

Johnson wants to focus on reducing gun violence and drug crime in the district. As for economic development, Johnson wants to bring more small businesses to the district.

District 7
Adam Bazaldua, District 7’s incumbent, will face Kevin Felder, the district’s former representative.

In this month's election, Bazaldua secured nearly 40% of the vote while Felder took second place with 15.5%.

Felder has criticized Bazaldua’s vote to reduce DPD’s overtime budget. The City Council voted to approve a $7 million cut from the department’s overtime budget. Its overall budget was increased by about $15 million from the previous year.

Bazaldua has stood by his vote, saying that funds need to be allocated to policing alternatives to get crime under control in Dallas.

While they may have differing opinions on public safety, the Dallas Sierra Club decided both candidates deserved its endorsement for environmental work.

District 11
District 11 voters will elect either Jaynie Schultz, former city plan commissioner for the district, or lawyer Barry Wernick. Schultz has the endorsement of her council member Lee Kleinman, and Wernick has the endorsement of the Dallas Police Association.

Schultz has lived in and around the district nearly her whole life and represented the district on the plan commission for six years. On top of wanting to secure positive development for District 11 and lower crime rates, Schultz also wants to tackle panhandling and homelessness. She wants to work with nonprofits to help those “truly in need” and discourage people from giving money to panhandlers.

Wernick has said he first considered running last summer because of Dallas crime. He also takes issues with the vote to cut DPD’s overtime budget, calling it “defunding the police.”

“A vote for me means you will never have to worry about me voting to defund the police, focusing instead on making sure they have the resources they need to make our city safe,” Wernick wrote on his website.

He said once the city’s public safety is under control, it can start working on things like repairing infrastructure and homelessness.

District 13
Leland Burk and Gay Donnell Willis, former president and CEO of the Turtle Creek Conservancy, will try to convince voters they deserve to represent residents of District 13.

Burk was born in Dallas and raised in District 13, where he is raising a family of his own. He says he wants to take the lead on fully funding DPD and look for more innovative, community-based policing strategies.

On public safety, Willis says she wants to ensure that officer pay stays in line with neighboring cities. She also wants to make sure staffing recommendations at DPD get rolled out in a timely manner and focus on community policing alternatives to help reduce crime.

District 14
District 14’s incumbent, David Blewett, will be trying to save his seat from challenger Paul Ridley, the district’s former city plan commissioner.

Blewett has lived in the district for about 35 years. He serves on five City Council committees including the public safety and quality of life, arts and culture committees. A big priority for him is public safety, more specifically, solving Dallas’ street racing problem, and improving DPD response times.

click to enlarge David Blewett has lived in District 14 for about 35 years. - JIM SCHUTZE
David Blewett has lived in District 14 for about 35 years.
Jim Schutze
Ridley practiced construction law and commercial litigation in Dallas for over 30 years. He’s lived in an Old East Dallas historic district for about 27 years. Before serving eight years on the plan commission, he spent four representing District 14 on the landmark commission.

Development has been a contentious issue in District 14.

It came as a bit of a surprise when Blewett moved to approve the controversial Lincoln Katy Trail project at council before the election. He moved to have the zoning change Lincoln Property was requesting approved and was met with little opposition from his colleagues.

Ridley spoke against the Lincoln Katy Trail development at the council that day. He voted it down twice during his time on the plan commission for various reasons, one of them being that it did not have approval from the Oak Lawn Committee.

The election day for the runoffs is June 5, and voters can also cast their ballots early between May 24 and June 1, with the exception of Memorial Day. 
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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