DGLA likely to endorse David Kunkle, as PAC chair stands behind warning about Mike Rawlings

Posted on 18 May 2011 at 12:29pm
Damien Duckett

The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s Political Action Committee is scheduled to meet Friday to consider re-endorsing in the mayor’s race, after DGLA-backed candidate Ron Natinsky finished third and failed to advance to the June 18 runoff.

Damien Duckett, chair of the PAC, indicated that given DGLA’s previous “warning” against top vote-getter Mike Rawlings, the group is likely to get behind second-place finisher David Kunkle, who already has the backing of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

“We’ll talk about it,” Duckett told Instant Tea this morning. “Obviously we issued a very strong warning against Rawlings previously, so I can’t see him being considered, but I don’t make those decisions unilaterally. That’s up to the PAC. We’ll have to re-evaluate everything when we come back together.”

Duckett said it’s possible DGLA will request follow-up interviews with Kunkle and Rawlings, or send them another questionnaire. The warning about Rawlings could be re-issued or even rescinded, although the latter seems unlikely.

DGLA’s warning said Rawlings’ “passion for commerce and business interests supremely overwhelms his appreciation for the civil rights of all people.”

According to DGLA, the warning was based on statements Rawlings made in response to a question about requiring city contractors to have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. In response to DGLA’s warning — which one of his prominent gay supporters called “irresponsible” and “immature” — Rawlings has adamantly denied that he would ever put economic development ahead of civil rights. But Duckett said he stands behind the warning.

“I think it was absolutely the right thing to do,” Duckett said when asked whether he’s concerned that the warning could come back to haunt the LGBT community if Rawlings, widely considered the favorite in the runoff, becomes mayor.

“I don’t care if he gets to be mayor or doesn’t,” Duckett said. “I don’t care what the situation is. Had anyone in the community been in that room during that interview, I cannot see how they could possibly walk away feeling that a warning was not completely justified.”

Duckett has declined to go into further detail about the reason for the warning, citing the confidentiality of the PAC’s candidate interviews.

“I so wish that they weren’t confidential because it would just make it so much easier to be able to tell everybody what he said,” Duckett said. “We didn’t just issue a warning about how he would treat or represent the interests of equality of the GLBT community. It was for all people.”

In District 12, which will also see a June 18 runoff, none of the original three candidates sought DGLA’s endorsement, Duckett said. The runoff pits former Councilwoman Sandy Greyson against tea party candidate Donna Starnes.

Duckett said DGLA could still endorse in the District 12 runoff and likely will again invite Greyson and Starnes to seek the group’s backing.

District 12, in Far North Dallas, previously was represented by Natinsky, who sought and received DGLA’s endorsement in his two most recent council campaigns.

During her previous stint on the council, Greyson voted in favor of the city’s 2002 nondiscrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. Greyson also voted in favor of adding sexual orientation to DART’s nondiscrimination policy when she served on the transit agency’s board of directors in 1995.

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