Political activist attributes Dupree’s win to support from gay community; constable, who will run unopposed in November, vows to help police make Dallas streets safer
Gay Constable Mike Dupree defeated his rival in the Democratic Party primary, securing him another four-year term in the Precinct 5 office.
Dupree won the primary in a 2,192 to 1,806 vote, giving him 55 percent of the vote. He will be running unopposed in the November election.
“It’s a good feeling, but I guess I’m more happy for my people and for the community,” said Dupree, whose precinct covers areas in Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff. “This was a tough battle. We ran a clean honest race, so I feel good about this..”
Dupree said the contest had grown increasingly nasty as the primary election date neared. In the weeks preceding the primary, copies of a bogus police report were distributed to businesses and residents in Precinct 5. The distributors falsely claimed Dupree was investigated for alleged sexual assault of a minor.
Dupree filed multiple complaints with the Dallas Police Department about his campaign signs being stolen from businesses and residences. Two neighbors of Cortes were cited for allegedly stealing Dupree’s signs on Feb. 20.
Cortes denied any involvement with or knowledge of the dirty campaign tricks. He acknowledged distributing a flier that claimed Dupree’s office was the poorest-performing constable office in the county.Dupree said he believes his commitment to running a clean campaign that highlighted his accomplishments contributed to his win.
“I think people appreciate a candidate who markets himself or herself to public for their credibility and accomplishments,” Dupree said. “The philosophy of running a campaign should be based on a person’s merits and not attacking their opponent.”
The day after the primary election Cortes, who is now a constable’s deputy in Precinct 1, said he was unsure if he would ever run again for the office. It was his second failed attempt to defeat Dupree.
“It was a long battle, but I do congratulate Mike Dupree and wish him well,” Cortes said. “I’ll be there for the community so he can feel free to call on me.”
Michael Moon, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said he suspects the GLBT community’s support played a major role in returning Dupree to office.
“I was worried about the allegations and the gay bashing going on in that race,” Moon said. “I was really afraid that it was going to turn out folks to him against him because he is gay.”
Dupree said the support he received from the GLBT community and other elected officials and organizations helped get him through the tough race
Dupree said he was unable to participate in the campaign for the last few days leading up to the election because one of his officers, Alonso “Art” Lizcano, 35, was in critical condition in the hospital after being wounded on March 2 while working an off-duty job.
“My place was with my deputy and his family,” Dupree said.
Two of Dupree’s top campaign volunteers were his mother, Edwina Vonkeisler, and his sister, Michele Klaes.
“It was the first time they ever participated in the campaign so it was a family affair,” Dupree said. “They enjoyed themselves making phone calls to voters asking them to vote for me.”
Vonkeisler and Klaes were among the 30 supporters and members of Dupree’s staff who joined him for an election watch party at Tejano’s restaurant in Oak Cliff on Tuesday night. Vonkeisler said she had faith that her son would win another term.
“It’s always what he has wanted to do since he was a little kid to be in law enforcement,” Vonkeisler said.
Klaes said she and her mother rarely see Dupree because of his hectic schedule and described him as a workaholic.
“He is so dedicated to his job,” Klaes said. “He’s always out on the street with his people.”
Dupree said he hopes to work with the county’s budget director and the Commissioners Court in his next term to establish a new formula for staffing the constable offices.
“The last staffing study was done about 15 years ago, and things have changed since then,” Dupree said. “There needs to be some changes to give us the adequate manpower we need to be able to perform our duties under the Constitution.”
Dupree said he wants to continue working closely with the Dallas Police Department.
“We will continue keeping up the good work,” Dupree said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 10, 2006.
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