Incumbents have tough fights ahead as Dallas City Council campaign season officially begins

February 17, 2017

Dallas Morning News
Tristan Hallman, Dallas City Hall Reporter

Come June, the Dallas City Council could have a whole new look that might feature some familiar faces. Or not.

Eleven of the 14 council races in the May 6 election will be contested. Two Dallas ISD seats will also feature multiple candidates on the ballot.

Every Dallas council member south of the Trinity River has at least one opponent. And some of the races could turn out to be slugfests.

Former longtime City Council members Tennell Atkins and Dwaine Caraway are back again after term limits forced them to step aside in 2015. Caraway will have a one-on-one showdown with Carolyn King Arnold, whom he helped get elected. A proposed deck park spanning Interstate 35 near the Dallas Zoo will be a hot-button issue in that race. Atkins, meanwhile, will run in a crowded field that includes Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson and 2015 third-place finisher Gail Terrell.

In southwestern Dallas, former teacher Joe Tave will get a rematch against council member Casey Thomas after losing by less than 200 votes in the 2015 runoff.

In Pleasant Grove, council member Rickey Callahan will seek a third term against lawyer Dominique Torres, who lists prominent Friendship-West Baptist Church’s senior pastor Frederick Haynes as her treasurer.

And in South Dallas, Tiffinni Young has five challengers, including her 2015 opponent Kevin Felder and neighborhood activist Tammy Johnston. The campaign is likely to focus on the fate of Fair Park and quality of life issues.

In North Dallas, incumbent Lee Kleinman will square off against his neighbor, real estate blogger Candy Evans. While the Dallas Police Association and Dallas Fire Fighters Association have yet to endorse Evans, they’ve made clear they want Kleinman out.

Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo will have to face a crowded field of contenders in her West Dallas district, where gentrification concerns are on voters’ minds. Dallas County Schools board member Omar Narvaez, who has the support of council member Philip Kingston, headlines the field of candidates.

But Kingston, who is seeking a third term and is known as an indefatigable campaigner, could be preoccupied in his own backyard. On Friday, he drew a surprise serious challenger: Matthew Wood, a lawyer and East Dallas neighborhood advocate who headed the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Wood already has the endorsements of former Mayor Ron Kirk, lawyer Bobby Abtahi and activists Suzanne Smith and Mita Havlick. Abtahi lost a hard-fought runoff to Kingston in 2013, and Smith had Kingston’s endorsement in her campaign for Dallas ISD trustee last year.

Dustin Marshall, the CEO of Hazel’s Hot Shot who defeated Havlick and Smith in the last Dallas ISD District 2 race, is also up for re-election on the Dallas ISD board of trustees.

Marshall, 39, will face Richard Young, 37, a fourth-grade writing teacher at Dallas Gateway Charter School, and physician assistant Lori Kirkpatrick, 51. Young unsuccessfully ran for the Midlothian ISD board of trustees in 2013.

District 6 trustee Joyce Foreman, 68, has one opponent in the May election: author and nonprofit founder Phelesha Hamilton, 31.

Staff writer Corbett Smith contributed to this report.

Who is on the ballot?

Dallas City Council

District 1
Scott Griggs (incumbent)
Stephen Winn

District 2
Adam Medrano (incumbent)
Brian Ostrander*

District 3
Casey Thomas (incumbent)
Joe Tave
Sandra Crenshaw*

District 4
Carolyn King Arnold (incumbent)
Dwaine Caraway

District 5
Rickey Callahan (incumbent)
Dominique Torres

District 6
Monica R. Alonzo (incumbent)
Omar Narvaez
Gil N. Cerda
Tony Carrillo
Linus Spiller
Alex Dickey
Patricia Luckey Jones​*

District 7
Tiffinni A. Young (incumbent)
Kevin Felder
Tammy Johnston
Adam Bazaldua
James “JT” Turknett
Marvin Crenshaw

District 8
Erik Wilson (incumbent)
Gail Terrell
Eric Williams
Tennell Atkins
Moctezuma Seth Gonzalez​

District 9
Mark Clayton (incumbent)
Arthur Lee Adams, Jr.

District 10
Adam McGough (incumbent)

District 11
Lee M. Kleinman (incumbent)
Candy Evans

District 12
Sandy Greyson (incumbent)

District 13
Jennifer Staubach Gates (incumbent)

District 14
Philip Kingston (incumbent)
Matthew Wood
Kim Welch

Dallas ISD

District 2
Dustin Marshall (incumbent)
Richard Young
Lori Kirkpatrick

District 6
Joyce Foreman (incumbent)
Phelesha Hamilton

District 8
Miguel Solis (incumbent)

*Not yet declared qualified by City Secretary Friday night.