Philip Kingston narrowly defeated fellow attorney Bobby Abtahi on Saturday in a runoff between two LGBT allies for the District 14 Dallas City Council seat.
With 39 of 41 precincts reporting, Kingston has 2,339 votes, or 55 percent, to Abtahi’s 1,946 votes, or 45 percent.
Kingston will replace Councilwoman Angela Hunt, a staunch LGBT supporter who was term limited and endorsed Kingston in the race. District 14 is among the most heavily LGBT in the city and covers parts of Oak Lawn, East Dallas and downtown.
Kingston and his supporters gathered at the Pour House on Skillman. In his victory speech, Kingston thanked his all-volunteer staff and supporters for running a clean and positive race.
“Our message was issues-driven and relentlessly positive,” Kingston told Dallas Voice. “That resonated with voters in District 14.”
Abtahi and several dozen supporters waited for results at The Mason Bar in Uptown. He called Kingston after it was clear he’d lost before thanking his supporters for their hard work and faith in him throughout a long campaign.
“We started this campaign at 1 percent. That was our name ID. That’s how much of the vote we were going to get, 1 percent,” Abtahi said. “And we came back and we showed people that you could have someone from the outside, you could have someone who wasn’t endorsed by the incumbent make a run for it and we did a great job. And I appreciate all your support and now it’s time to relax.”
Kingston and Abtahi expressed strong support for the LGBT community during the campaign, with both saying they’d back a council resolution endorsing marriage equality and statewide LGBT job protections.
Kingston was criticized for his mostly Republican primary voting history and for financial contributions to conservative causes, including a PAC now affiliated with Sen. Ted Cruz and the campaign of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. However, Kingston also gave money to the campaign to defeat Texas’ marriage amendment in 2005.
Abtahi, who has a lesbian sister, was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, while Kingston had the backing of the nonpartisan Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.
In the other City Council runoff, Rick Callahan defeated Jesse Diaz in the newly created District 5, which covers Pleasant Grove in southeast Dallas. Diaz was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats. In response to a Dallas Voice questionnaire, Callahan said he supports civil unions but not marriage equality, but his campaign manager later said he would support the council marriage equality resolution.