Dallas voters had a second chance on Saturday to decide their city council representatives for the next two years in the runoff election.
At stake, six council seats in districts that touch the northern, eastern, central and southern parts of the city. Half of the races featured starters trying to fend off the challengers. The other three concerned vacancies left vacant by council members who reached their term limit after none of the candidates in any of those races obtained 50% of the vote in the May 1 election.
The holders of eight other council seats were all re-elected last month and Mayor Eric Johnson, who holds the 15th seat on city council, is halfway through his four-year term.
City council’s decision last year to cut the police department’s overtime budget played a role in two of the races featuring incumbents, including council member David Blewett, who has apparently changed his mind about his vote compared to last year and now says he wants to raise money for the police.
In all three open races, two candidates attacked opponents for unpaid taxes and said they should not sit on the board if they owed money.
The 14 newly elected council members will be sworn in for their two-year term on June 14.
Here’s a look at the results at 9 p.m.:
Jesse Moreno, a restaurateur, led with 56% of the vote on Sana Syed, a real estate company executive and former spokesperson for the city of Dallas.
The neighborhood covers parts of downtown, Deep Ellum, the Cedars, Oak Lawn, and East Dallas. The winner will take the seat vacated by board member Adam Medrano.
The race of the past few weeks has seen Syed question Moreno’s suitability for service because he did not disclose a $ 150,000 tax lien in 2015 that was still active as of May. Moreno, a former member of the park’s board of directors, has since refunded the tax lien.
Incumbent Carolyn King Arnold edged pastor and Dallas ISD administrator Maxie Johnson.
King Arnold led with 57% of the vote and Johnson with 43%. District 4 covers the south and east of Oak Cliff.
King Arnold, a 67-year-old retired teacher, is seeking election to city council for the fourth time since 2015. She cited experience and stability as reasons why she should be re-elected. Johnson, a 43-year-old first-time candidate for council, said he believed he would show more urgency and results on needed changes in the district.
Arnold said economic development, housing and improving the quality of life in South Oak Cliff were already underway in her district and that she believed he would be in a better position to continue in his tenure.
Starter Adam Bazaldua has taken a big lead over his predecessor Kevin Felder.
Bazaldua is 62% ahead of Felder. The neighborhood includes South Dallas, Fair Park and Buckner Terrace.
Bazaldua, a former teacher, is running for a second consecutive term, while Felder seeks to regain the seat he lost to Bazaldua in 2019.
Bazaldua pitched the idea of ââcutting police overtime amid a nationwide reckoning on policing and racism. The money was reinvested in the police department – as well as other public safety projects, like additional streetlights. Ultimately, the police’s spending budget increased by $ 15 million.
Former Dallas City Planning Commission member Jaynie Schultz heads attorney Barry Wernick.
Schultz collected 54% in the race to represent North Dallas.
The two candidates are running for their first election to the Dallas City Council. The seat was previously held by Lee Kleinman. Ahead of the second round, Schultz accused Wernick of attempting to portray her as anti-police, although both have publicly expressed their support for the Dallas Police Department. The Dallas Police Association, the largest union in the department, backed Wernick.
Early returns show Gay Donnell Willis dominating real estate developer Leland Burk in the race to represent District 13.
Donnell Willis, general manager of Turtle Creek Conservancy, got 54% of the vote. The district covers northwest Dallas and Preston Hollow. The seat has been occupied for the past eight years by Jennifer Staubach Gates.
Before the second round, Burk called on Donnell Willis to withdraw from the race, citing his unpaid federal taxes. Donnell Willis accused Burk of distorting his debts and called on him to apologize publicly, but he did not.
Retired lawyer Paul Ridley led by a significant margin over incumbent David Blewett in the race to represent parts of downtown, Uptown and East Dallas.
Ridley held 63% of the votes in the mandate holder.
Ridley, 68, was the main voter in the May race. He boasts extensive municipal experience, having served 8 years on the Town Planning Commission and 4 years on the Landmark Commission. His campaign focused on neighborhood development issues and identified the lack of affordable housing as the most important challenge for the district.
Blewett, a 55-year-old real estate financier, ran for a second consecutive term. In the weeks between the general election and the second round, Blewett pledged to restore the police overtime budget, reversing the tide of his vote to cut funding last summer.
The incumbent said he raised around $ 161,000 in contributions with nearly $ 41,000 to spend, according to the latest campaign finance report. Meanwhile, Ridley said he raised around a quarter of Blewett’s total fundraising.
Editors Emily Donaldson and Talia Richman contributed to this report.