Gay Council member is second mayoral candidate to turn in signatures; 5 members of prominent Crow family sign letter seeking funds for Oakley’s campaign
Gay City Councilman Ed Oakley this week became the second mayoral candidate to submit his petition for candidacy to the city secretary’s office and secure a place on the May 12 ballot.
Although 21 candidates have filed for the mayoral race, only Oakley and City Councilman Don Hill have submitted petitions with the required 473 voters’ signatures needed for a place on the ballot. The only other gay candidate who has filed to run for mayor is Dallas lawyer Roger Herrera. The deadline for filing is March 12.
This week, Oakley’s campaign sent out a fundraising letter to Dallas voters signed by 49 prominent residents, including Trammell S. Crow, Harlan Crow, Henry Billingsley and Lucy Billingsley all members of the influential Crow real estate development family.
“If you look at the signatures on it, that’s what is really exciting,” Oakley said. “To have the whole Crow family on the same page politically on an issue is just unheard of.”
Oakley said the other 45 signatures are also representative of the diversity of his supporters.
“They’re some fairly heavy hitters Republicans, Democrats, wealthy, middle-class and elected officials,” Oakley said. “That’s the kind of style my candidacy is to pull very diverse groups together for a common goal.
“We’re not necessarily all on the same page politically,” Oakley said. “And they may be business competitors, but there’s one thing they all agree on that’s Ed Oakley ought to be the next mayor of the City of Dallas. That’s a pretty strong statement.”
Oakley is also endorsed by the Washington, D.C.-based Victory Fund, which only supports openly gay candidates.
The letter credits Oakley with bringing the City Council together on issues, decreasing taxes by the largest amount in 20 years, passing two successful bond issues and attracting new development and thousands of jobs to the city.
“The Dallas City Council is about to undergo a dramatic turnover more than half of the Council will be gone in May (because of term limits),” the letter read. “But we cannot afford to lose Ed Oakley.”
Oakley said he continues to feel optimistic about his chances of winning the election. He recently told Stonewall Democrats of Dallas at a candidate forum that it is time for a member of the LGBT community to be elected mayor.
“I feel really good about where I am,” Oakley said. “We’re raising money like crazy.”
Pictures of Oakley have been going up on billboards around the city announcing his candidacy for mayor. Television advertising will follow, provided he raises the needed money, he said.
“You’re talking about spending a half-million to $1 million in the last 10 days of the election,” Oakley said. “If I have the money, we will be doing that.”
Oakley said he is confident, based on the pledges of contributions he has received.
“If I raise all the money that has been pledged and then some, we’ll be there,” Oakley said.
If Oakley is elected mayor, he would become the first openly gay mayor of one of the 10 largest U.S. cities.
The Victory Fund advised its members that Oakley’ campaign expenditures could top $2 million.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2007