Literature incorrectly identifies Oakley as only gay man in race
Gary Griffith’s campaign for mayor is painting the North Dallas councilman as a candidate who will champion “traditional conservative values” at City Hall.
Griffith’s “One Dallas” campaign mailed out literature recently that targeted conservative Republican voters, said C.P. Henry, press spokesman for the campaign. The literature included a copy of a story about the candidates in the Dallas mayor’s race that was published on the liberal blog, the Burnt Orange Report.
Henry said the copy of the blog report was included because it profiled several of the 20 candidates now in the mayor’s race.
“With all of the different candidates in there, everyone has been asking us who is in the race and what’s going on,” Henry said.
On the enclosure, the campaign underlined the passage, “Councilman Gary Griffith is the only well known Republican among the bunch. Conservative voters may be looking to him as their only saving grace in a field of moderates and liberals. Being pals with Congressman Pete Sessions pretty much sums up his own views.”
The underlined passage was part of a larger highlighted passage that noted the names of 10 mayoral candidates and the sentence, “While Mr. (Max) Wells and Mr. (Darrell) Jordan still claim bipartisanship, the other major candidates all lean one way or the other.”
In the unhighlighted area, Councilman Ed Oakley was erroneously identified in the copy of the blog report as the “only gay man in the race.” Although gay Dallas lawyer Roger Herrera was listed as a candidate for mayor, the author of the blog report failed to note he is also gay.
Oakley said this week he viewed the Griffith campaign’s effort to attract conservative votes as an “act of desperation.” The councilman said he was surprised that he would be identified as gay in any of the candidates’ campaign literature.
“None of the other candidates have done anything like that,” Oakley said. “I don’t expect them to. I’m a little disappointed that Gary would do that.”
But Henry denied that the mailing was intended in any degree to call attention to Oakley’s sexual orientation.
“That can be nothing further from the truth,” Henry said. “We wanted to run the whole article. We didn’t want to just excerpt the one part.
“It had nothing to do with Ed Oakley. I’m sorry he felt that way.”
Henry noted that Oakley has always ran as an openly gay candidate in his council races so he saw nothing wrong with the mailing.
“He’s always been openly gay so why would this be a problem?” Henry said.
Henry said that although Griffith is trying to attract conservative voters, the candidate would represent the interests of all of Dallas’ residents.
“Our campaign theme was and is “One Dallas,” which means Gary Griffith will represent every community,” Henry said. “Every community has value.”
Henry said he views the candidates running for mayor as an “incredible field of people.”
“What a great opportunity for our citizens,” Henry said. “We look forward to debating every single candidate and showing them how we are different and how we will do a better job at being mayor.”
Oakley said he is hopeful that all of the candidates for mayor will run on their merits and refrain from dirty politics.
“I hope it doesn’t get ugly,” Oakley said. “It is what it is, but I hope they stick to the issues.”
The municipal election is May 12.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 9, 2007
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