Foster falls; White, Perry to face off in November

Posted on 03 Mar 2010 at 10:23pm
By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
Former Houston Mayor Bill White (left) versus Gov. Rick Perry (right).

Openly gay Dallas County Judge Jim Foster lost his bid for re-election Tuesday, finishing last out of three candidates in the Democratic Primary.

Meanwhile, it’ll be Gov. Rick Perry versus former Houston Mayor Bill White for governor of Texas in November.

Highland Park attorney Clay Jenkins was the leading vote-getter in the Democratic Primary for county judge, but Jenkins failed to capture the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff, according to unofficial results. That means Jenkins will face the second-place finisher, Dallas County Schools President Larry Duncan, in a runoff in April.

With all 695 precincts reporting early Wednesday, Jenkins received 49.82 percent of the vote. Duncan received 29.71 percent, while Foster received 20.47 percent.

In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, with about half of precincts reporting statewide, White had 76 percent of the vote, and the Associated Press declared him the winner. Houston hair care products tycoon Farouk Shami was second with 12 percent. White was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats and is considered a strong LGBT ally.

On the Republican side, with about half of precincts reporting, Perry had 51 percent, while U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was second with 31 percent, followed by Debra Medina with 18 percent. Hutchison had conceded the race.

The victories by Perry and White set up a November battle between candidates with starkly contrasting views on LGBT equality. Perry championed Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005, while White has said he voted against it.

In other races, openly gay Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons easily captured the Democratic nomination. With 449 of 695 precincts reporting, Fitzsimmons had 71 percent of the vote, while challenger Johnny Gomez’s had 29 percent. Fitzsimmons will face Republican Tammy Barnes in November.

Another openly gay candidate, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem John Loza, didn’t fare so well Tuesday. Loza was in last place out of four candidates in the race for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Loza, along with Tonya Parker, was vying to become the first openly LGBT person elected to the judiciary in Dallas County.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, was unopposed in Tuesday’s primary and will face Republican Mike Lee in November.

In the District 100 House race, Eric Johnson scored perhaps the most surprising result of the evening, handily defeating State Rep. Terri Hodge. With 42 of 51 precincts reporting, Johnson had 75 percent of the vote to Hodge’s 25 percent.

Hodge, a longtime LGBT ally in the House, pleaded guilty to felony charges in February in connection with the Dallas City Hall corruption case.

As a result of her plea, Hodge isn’t eligible to continue serving, but her name still appeared on the ballot.

If Hodge had received more votes than Johnson, Democratic precinct chairs in the district would have decided the race.

But Johnson will now be the next state representative for the district that includes much of Oak Lawn, because there is no Republican on the ballot.

In the Precinct 5 constable race, embattled incumbent Jaime Cortes is headed for a runoff against challenger Beth Villarreal.

With 79 of 87 precincts reporting, Cortes had 35 percent of the vote to Villarreal’s 34 percent. Michael Orozco was third with 26 percent, followed by Ozumba Lnuk-X with 5 percent. Precinct 5 includes heavily gay areas of Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff.

In the District 4 County Commissioner race, Dr. Elba Garcia easily defeated Rose Renfroe in the Democratic primary. With 139 of 167 precincts reporting, Garcia had 69 percent of the vote to Renfroe’s 31 percent.

Garcia, a longtime LGBT ally, will face Republican incumbent Kenneth Mayfield in November.

In a GOP race of note, Homer Adams narrowly defeated Rob Schlein for precinct chair in Far North Dallas’ 1800.

Homer Adams is the husband of State Republican Party Chairwoman Cathie Adams, the former president of the Texas Eagle Forum and one of the leading anti-gay voices in Dallas for the last few decades. Schlein heads the Dallas chapter of the gay Republican group Log Cabin.

Adams defeated Schlein by a margin of 290 votes to 286, according to unofficial results.

For full coverage of Tuesday’s primaries, see Friday’s Dallas Voice.

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