Gromer Jeffers has an item on the Dallas Morning News Bold Types blog saying council member Don Hill will announce tomorrow he's running for mayor. Gromer, whom I like and respect, has been pushing the idea in recent columns that a Hill candidacy will somehow empower African-American Southern Dallas, in spite of the looming shadow of the FBI's ongoing -- or is that never-ending? -- corruption probe.
Just before Christmas, Jeffers wrote of Hill: "Although many observers gave him little chance to win over North Dallas voters even before the investigation began, he remains a strong contender to win the southern-sector vote and force a runoff."
Mmm, maybe. Maybe not so much.
What Jeffers never mentions, maybe because he just doesn't see it or believe it, is that a Hill candidacy may have the effect of taking Southern Dallas out of the picture entirely.
I am saying in my column in the paper version of Unfair Park today, which isn't yet online, that the crowded field of white candidates vying for votes mainly in North Dallas is made up of people who range from low name recognition to no name recognition. The big unknown so far has been which white nobody will get the Southern Dallas vote.
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If Hill runs and soaks up that vote for himself, he neutralizes the black vote as a swing factor. Then it's all about a bunch of white guys carving up North Dallas -- the little-knowns versus the relatively less-well-knowns. That's an equal fight, a free-for-all or a rain check, depending.
The immediate and most tangible effect of a Hill candidacy would be a big sharp pin in the balloon of Ed Oakley, who has been counting on black votes to boost him past the other white candidates. So, then, Oakley's a nobody like all the other white nobodies. Hill runs and makes black voters nobodies. Hill's nobody, because he can't get any North Dallas votes. So who gets elected? Somebody.
If I were running, that would be my slogan: "I am somebody." The theory is that somebody's better than nobody. The scary thing, though, is that the theory could be wrong.
Yikes. I'm having an I-miss-Laura moment. Get me back on the electroshock table. Quick, I need another zap! --Jim Schutze