Twenty-four candidates in local municipal elections are seeking the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. The LGBT group will screen candidates on Saturday at Resource Center Dallas before voting on which horse to endorse in each race.
Those scheduled to appear Saturday to seek Stonewall’s endorsement include all four candidates for Dallas mayor. However, according to Stonewall’s bylaws, Ron Natinsky isn’t eligible for the group’s endorsement because he’s a Republican. The group’s bylaws read: “No member of the Republican Party, candidates in the Republican Primary, nor Republican candidates in a General or Non-Partisan Election are eligible for endorsement by this Organization. Endorsements may be made in Dallas County non-partisan elections if the candidate has a Democratic Party primary election voting history and/or affirms allegiance to the Dallas Democratic Party.”
Natinsky has been endorsed by some prominent gay Democrats, including Ed Oakley and Chris Luna, but it looks like Stonewall will be choosing between David Kunkle and Mike Rawlings.
In District 14, Stonewall members will have to decide between openly gay challenger James Nowlin and incumbent Angela Hunt, who’s been a strong LGBT ally on the council. It’s great to see gay candidates like Nowlin running for office, but I’d be shocked if Stonewall’s endorsement doesn’t go to Hunt.
In District 2, both challenger Billy MacLeod and incumbent Pauline Medrano are seeking Stonewall’s endorsement, which will undoubtedly to Medrano, who’s also a strong LGBT ally.
In District 3, only challenger Scott Griggs is seeking Stonewall’s endorsement. Griggs is running against incumbent Dave Neumann, who’s been endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the past but is not currently scheduled to appear on Saturday. We suspect Neumann is in the same boat as Natinsky when it comes to being eligible for the endorsement.
In District 4, Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway is seeking Stonewall’s endorsement for re-election to his council seat. Caraway, of course, is finishing out Tom Leppert’s term after Leppert stepped down to run for Senate. Caraway is a shoe-in for re-election, but it’s good to see that he’s scheduled to appear on Saturday.
In District 7, openly gay challenger Cassie Pierce is the only candidate scheduled to seek Stonewall’s endorsement on Saturday. Pierce is running against incumbent Carolyn Davis.
Stonewall will screen candidates from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Resource Center Dallas. Only those with their membership dues as of Feb. 17 may vote.
A full press release, including a list of all candidates who are scheduled to appear, is after the jump.
Two dozen candidates seek Stonewall’s endorsement this Saturday
As of this morning, 24 candidates are seeking the support of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas membership for the upcoming May 14 municipal election. All four candidates for Dallas Mayor will appear at this Saturday’s Endorsement Screening scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Resource Center Dallas’ Rainbow Room, located at 2701 Reagan St.
“You know we’ve made progress in the heart of Texas when a Democratic political club gets 24 municipal candidates from Rowlett to Duncanville — including Tea Party Republicans — to agree to be interviewed by a packed room of LGBT activists on a Saturday,” said Tony McMullin, SDD political affairs chair. “On Saturday, we will continue a proud tradition of interviewing candidates for public office with the aim of sharing as much with them as we will learn from them.”
Stonewall members current with their membership dues as of Feb. 17, may vote during ratification of endorsements to be held immediately after the screening. Members from the community are also invited to attend. Seating is limited.
“This is a great opportunity to hear directly from the candidates on where they stand on our issues,” said Omar Narvaez, SDD president. “In 2009, we didn’t participate in nonpartisan elections. A good majority of Stonewall members are happy to be engaged in these very important races again.”
Candidates of all stripes are not taking any vote for granted. In the last mayoral election held in 2007, out of 577,483 eligible voters — only 72,492 cast a ballot (around 12.5 percent). In 2009 when only city council races were on the ballot, 74,770 citizens out of 561,879 eligible voters participated in their respective districts.
“Voters from districts in the northern section of Dallas, which tend to be more conservative, have higher turnouts. In 2009, the District 13 race between Ann Margolin and Brint Ryan turned out 14,525 voters — 30 percent of its 46,959 eligible voters,” said Jesse Garcia, SDD communications director. “That district alone cancels out three to four districts in the southern sector of Dallas which tend to vote progressive. We need major LGBT voter turnout to ensure progressive candidates are elected.”
The deadline to register to vote in time for the May 14 election is Thursday, April 14. Your registration card needs to be postmarked by April 14 or dropped off at the Dallas County Elections Department, located at 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 820, in Dallas. Early voting takes place May 2-10.
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will register voters Saturday, March 26, from 2 to 6 p.m., in front of Hunky’s, located at 3940 Cedar Springs Rd., in Dallas.
Results of the endorsement screening and ratification will be distributed Saturday evening.
Candidates scheduled to appear:
Dallas Mayor: David Kunkle, Ron Natinsky, Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings.
Dallas City Council District 1: Delia Jasso
Dallas City Council District 2: Billy MacLeod and Pauline Medrano
Dallas Ctiy Council District 3: Scott Griggs
Dallas City Council District 4: Dwaine Caraway
Dallas City Council District 6: Monica Alonzo and Luis Sepulveda
Dallas City Council District 7: Cassie Pierce
Dallas City Council District 9: Sheffield A. “Sheffie” Kadane, Jr.
Dallas City Council District 10: Jerry Allen and Cynthia Durbin
Dallas City Council District 12: William Mingtzong Tsao
Dallas City Council District 14: Vernon Franko, Angela Hunt, Chad Lasseter and James Nowlin
Dallas County School Board Place 1: Paul Freeman and Anthony Pace
Dallas County School Board Place 4: James Hubener
Dallas Independent School District Place 2: Mike Morath
Candidates who are endorsed will be invited to speak at the next general meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 19, at Ojeda’s Restaurant, located at 4617 Maple Ave. in Dallas. Meeting is open to the public. For more information, visit www.stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org.