Gay Dallas real estate developer announces candidacy for City Council

Gay Dallas real estate developer Herschel Weisfeld announced his intention to run for the District 2 Dallas City Council seat on Thursday.

District 2 Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, District 14 Councilwoman Angela Hunt and District 11 Councilwoman Linda Koop will reach the four-term limit in 2013. Both District 2 and 14 are heavily LGBT.

Weisfeld will officially launch his campaign at Dallas Pride on Sunday with a float in the parade. He said it was the perfect way to introduce himself as a candidate to the district with the slogan “uniting our diverse city.”

“We realized since District 2 cuts right down the center of Cedar Springs, the fact that we are the ninth-largest city in America [and] without a gay or lesbian representation on our City Council, that Pride would be a perfect time to kick off the campaign,” he said.

Weisfeld has been involved in civic affairs for many years and is known for restoring an old church into a performing arts center he renamed the Sara Ellen and Samuel Weisfeld Center after his parents. He said his background in business and finance will help the council re-evaluate plans for environment, quality of life, bike paths and connecting alternative modes of transportation.

“The issues that pushed me toward running was planning for the next 30 to 50 years, not just the next three to four years,” he said. “I think those are things that will play a long-term role in the future of the city of Dallas for the generations to come, not for the years to come.”

Weisfeld said his diverse background in the gay, Jewish and Hispanic communities, as he is bilingual, will help him relate to the diverse communities in District 2 and help the art venues, entertainment districts and communities thrive.

“These are all very important pieces of the city of Dallas that I believe I’ve got the experience and the exposure to a wide variety of issues that will be important and that will be educational components for me that I can bring to the table to the benefit of all of the citizens of Dallas,” he said.

Read Weisfeld’s full announcement below.

—  Anna Waugh

Gay GOP leader says he’d vote for Santorum

Schlein’s comments stand in contrast to statements from national LGBT Republican groups

Rob.Schlein.color.4

Rob Schlein

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

Local gay Republican leader Rob Schlein ignited controversy in August by declaring that he’d vote for Texas Gov. Rick Perry over President Barack Obama if Perry wins the GOP nomination, despite the governor’s anti-gay record.

Schlein, president of Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, went a step further this week when he said he’d even support former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum over Obama if Santorum turns out to be the GOP nominee.

Santorum, who has famously compared same-sex marriage to man-dog marriage and is widely considered the most anti-gay candidate in the race, finished in a virtual tie atop this week’s Iowa caucuses with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Schlein said although Metroplex Republicans doesn’t plan to make an endorsement in the GOP race, he now personally supports Romney. But he added that he would vote for Santorum over Obama, even though he doesn’t believe Santorum has any chance of winning the nomination.

“We’re going to all vote for the Republican, no matter who it is, even Rick Santorum,” Schlein said of his group’s members during an interview with Dallas Voice about the Iowa results. “We have to focus right now like a laser beam on the one issue that matters today, and that’s getting the economic house in order. Any Republican, including Rick Santorum, will do a better job than Barack Obama on the economy. It doesn’t matter what anti-LGBT positions he’s taken in the past.”

Schlein’s statements last year about supporting Perry were one factor that led National Log Cabin Republicans to de-charter the group’s Dallas chapter, in which Schlein served as president. And Schlein’s comments about Santorum this week stood in stark contrast to statements from both National Log Cabin and GOProud responding to the Iowa results.

Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said in a statement issued Wednesday, Jan. 4, that Santorum rose to the top of the caucuses by appealing to “a uniquely socially conservative electorate.”

“As the nomination process moves forward, Log Cabin Republicans suggest all of the candidates reject Santorum’s politics of division and win by focusing on the issues that matter most to Americans — jobs and the economy,” Cooper said. “If using gay and lesbian Americans as a wedge can’t score enough political points to win more than 25 percent in Iowa, it certainly won’t help the Republican nominee in November.”

Asked to respond to Schlein’s comments, the president of the newly rechartered Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, Thomas Purdy, called Santorum “a bad candidate for president for many reasons.”

“Pandering to social conservatives as Santorum has done does not represent a party that champions individual liberty, and nominating Santorum would hurt the GOP by turning off moderates, independents and younger voters,” Purdy said.

GOProud, meanwhile, conspicuously omitted any reference to Santorum from the group’s statement on the Iowa results, instead congratulating only Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, who finished third.

“While there are certainly big differences between Governor Romney and Congressman Paul, especially when it comes to foreign policy, both chose to emphasize issues like the economy and the size of government over demonizing gay people,” GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia said. “We are pleased to see that so many Republicans in Iowa are focused on the issues that unite us as conservatives, instead of the side show issues.”

Schlein’s decision to invite LaSalvia to speak at what was then the Log Cabin chapter’s annual dinner in November was another factor that prompted the national Log Cabin group to oust him. Asked directly this week whether he would support Santorum if he’s the nominee, LaSalvia said in an email, “Asking me if I would support Rick Santorum if he’s the Republican nominee is like asking me if I would support Kim Kardashian if she’s the nominee — they both have about the same chance of getting the nomination!”

Omar Narvaez, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, declined to directly address Schlein’s comments about Santorum.

“I don’t personally know Rob Schlein,” Narvaez said. “Stonewall Democrats of Dallas is committed [to] and focused on re-electing President Barack Obama regardless of who the Republican nominee is.”

Earlier, Narvaez said he was glad Perry had chosen not to drop out of the race, despite the governor’s disappointing fifth-place finish in Iowa. Narvaez said the more candidates stay in, the more difficult it will be for any one of them to pull away.

“They’re not cohesive in any way,” Narvaez said of the GOP, “and I think the longer they can’t decide who they are, what they’re trying to do, is better for Democrats everywhere.

“The more they tear each other apart and in-fight and can’t get along, it’s better for Democrats,” he added. “They’re just giving us all the ammunition we’re going to need to fight them later.”

Equality Texas, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, issued a statement Wednesday morning rejoicing in Perry’s poor showing in Iowa, denouncing his “homophobic pandering” and predicting that he “will not be the next president of the United States.”

“Governor Perry’s homophobic pandering did not resonate with Iowa voters just as it does not resonate in Texas,” Equality Texas said in its statement. “As Governor Perry returns to Texas to reflect on his campaign, it is our hope at Equality Texas that he will also reflect on what Texans really want for their state. … It is time our governor recognize that homophobia and transphobia have no place in our great state and he should join in the effort to eradicate them from all public policy.”

After Perry announced that he would remain in the race, Equality Texas Deputy Director Chuck Smith told Dallas Voice he believes the governor’s campaign for president could ultimately benefit the LGBT community in his home state.

“It’s easy to show that most people don’t believe that,” Smith said of Perry’s anti-gay views. “He’s at a level of vitriol toward gay people that simply isn’t shared by most people. It potentially broadens the spectrum of Republicans who might be able to come out and say, ‘I don’t go that far.’ … If he gets so extreme that members of his own party feel the need to disavow him, that can only help us.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Karger remains in the race but focused on NH

Fred Karger

The Iowa caucus is tonight and one name that has been mentioned in very few news reports is openly gay candidate Fred Karger.

Karger is mostly sitting out Iowa but has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate. Two recent polls have him tied with Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum in that state.

The New Hampshire primary takes place Tuesday, Jan. 10.

While his bid was always considered a long shot, he is one of just eight Republicans still left in the race. Herman Cain suspended his campaign. Buddy Roemer is seeking the nomination of Americans Elect. One candidate who is not anti-gay, Gary Johnson, announced last week that he will seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party, rather than the Republican Party. Thaddeus McCotter, another candidate who has been excluded from all of the debates, also left the race.

So while Karger is a long shot, he also remains in the narrowing field along with Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Santorum.

Karger has been excluded from the debates to keep him from embarrassing the other Republicans over their homophobia.

To keep him from participating in the debates, rules were changed to refuse him a place on stage with other candidates. Those rules included raising the percentage candidates had to poll to qualify and increasing the number of polls in which a candidate had to score that higher percentage. Then polls where he scored the required 2 percent were discounted.

Still, Karger continues in the Republican race, but don’t look for him until next Tuesday.

While other candidates who don’t finish in the top three may be considered big losers in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, Karger will be considered a big winner if he finishes with more than 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire or with more votes than any of the other better-known candidates.

—  David Taffet

Laster becomes first out gay man on Houston City Council

Mike Laster

Mike Laster

With 57% of precincts reporting Mike Laster is the presumptive victor in the Houston District J City Council race. Laster, an out gay candidate endorsed by the Victory Fund and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, has a commanding lead with 67% of the vote. His nearest opponent Criselda Romero trails with 22%.

Laster is the first out gay man to be elected to the Houston City Council.

From the Victory Fund website:

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Honors Program, Mike earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center. While at the Law Center, Mike distinguished himself as the National Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Law Student Division.

Today Mike is an attorney specializing in real estate with the firm of Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P. in Houston, where he has practiced for the past thirteen years. From 1989 to 1995, Mike served as a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Real Estate Division of the City Attorney’s Office, where he handled many aspects of a general real estate and development practice for the city.

—  admin

Early voting results in Houston Races

At 7 pm the polls closed. The Harris County Clerk’s office must now count and tabulate the votes cast today in Houston’s 769 voting precincts. While we wait for the final results, let’s take a look at the numbers from early voting:

City of Houston, MAYOR, with 46,333 ballots counted:
Kevin Simms   7.55%
Amanda Ulman  1.60%
Dave Wilson  10.40%
Fernando Herrera  14.31%
Annise D. Parker  52.76%
Jack O’Connor  13.38%

Dave Wilson’s 10.4 percent is surprising, considering he’s been poling at less than 1%.  General wisdom is that conservatives are more likely to vote early than left-leaning voters. In my opinion his strong early showing is likely to dramatically decrease as the evening progresses.

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 1,
Stephen C. Costello 51.80%
James Partsch-Galvan  7.88%
Scott Boates  21.77%
Don Cook  18.54%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 2,
Kristi Thibaut 16.75%
Elizabeth C. Pérez 10.41%
Andrew C. Burks, Jr. 20.69%
Gordon R. Goss 1.75%
Bolivar “Bo” Fraga 9.51%
Eric B. Dick  7.44%
Jenifer Rene Pool  7.55%
M. “Griff” Griffin 7.25%
David W. Robinson  11.84%
Roslyn “Rozzy” Shorter 6.81%

With such a crowded field this race is still anybody’s game, fewer than 6,000 votes separate the early leader Burks from ninth position shorter.

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 3,
Melissa Noriega 56.67%
Chris Carmona  24.19%
J. Brad Batteau  19.15%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 4,
Louis Molnar 10.65%
Amy Price 18.43%
C. O. “Brad” Bradford 70.92%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 5,
Laurie Robinson 18.43%
Jolanda “Jo” Jones  42.16%
Jack Christie 31.46%
Bob Ryan 7.94%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT A, with 3,125 votes counted:
Brenda Stardig  43.06%
Helena Brown 47.01%
Bob Schoellkopf 9.93%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT B, with 4,710 votes counted:
Kenneth Perkins  8.87%
James Joseph 4.04%
Kathy Blueford-Daniels16.98%
Phillip “Paul” Bryant 5.66%
Alvin Byrd  28.27%
Jerry Davis 26.22%
Charles A. Ingram  6.63%
Bryan Smart 3.33%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT C, with 7,492 votes counted:
Randy Locke  3.88%
Josh Verde 17 2.47%
Ellen Cohen 55.28%
Karen Derr11.17%
Brian Cweren 27.20%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT D, with 6,498 votes counted:
Larry L. McKinzie  14.60%
Wanda Adams 85.40%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT E, with 4,283 votes counted
Mike Sullivan 100.00%

City of Houston, DISTRICT F, with 2,789 votes counted:
Al Hoang  56.72%
Hoc Thai Nguyen (Nguyen Thai Hoc) 20.84%
Peter “Lyn” René  22.45%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT G, with 5,917 votes counted:
Clyde Bryan  19.60%
Oliver Pennington 80.40%

Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT H, with 2,710 votes counted
Patricia Rodriguez 27.81%
Edward “Ed” Gonzalez  72.19%

Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT I, with 2,694 votes counted
Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza 31.28%
James Rodriguez  68.72%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT J, with 2,013 votes counted
Mike Laster 70.67%
Rodrigo Canedo 9.78%
Criselda Romero 19.56%

Out gay candidate Laster takes a commanding lead, but this heavily Hispanic district is likely to see significant election day voting, so this early number, based on so few votes, is likely very different than the final number we’ll wind up with.

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT K, with 4,102 votes counted:
Pat Frazier 22.68%
Larry Green 70.24%
Alex Gonik 7.08%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District III, with 1,981 votes counted
Manuel Rodriguez 52.95%
Ramiro Fonseca  47.05%

This race garnered national attention after Rodriquez mailed an anti-gay flier attacking Fonseca, and the Houston Chronicle subsequently pulled its endorsement of Rodriquez.  That information did not become public until after early voting closed on Friday, so any effect it had on the race would not be reflected in these numbers. Only 102 votes separate the candidates at this time.

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District IV, with 5,881 votes counted:
Davetta Daniels 33.81%
Paula Harris 66.19%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District VIII, with 3,091 votes counted:
Dorothy Olmos 40.28%
Juliet Kathy Stipeche 59.72%

Remember that these are only the votes cast during early voting, the final numbers can, and often do differ dramatically from early voting totals.

—  admin

NATIONAL BRIEFS: Officer who produced anti-gay videos can stay in the Navy

Officer who produced anti-gay videos can stay in the Navy

NORFOLK, Virginia — A Navy panel says the former commander of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier who produced raunchy videos aboard the ship can remain in the service.

The board of inquiry issued its recommendation Wednesday, Aug. 24. It had been looking at whether to dismiss Capt. Owen P. Honors from the Navy.

Honors was relieved of command in January after media reports about the videos surfaced. The videos included simulated same-sex shower scenes, anti-gay slurs and references to prostitution in foreign ports.

Honors says the videos were made to improve morale while teaching important shipboard lessons. He helped produce and appeared in the videos that aired on the ship between 2005 and 2007, when he was the ship’s executive office.

Both sides satisfied in talks over school district policy

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Both sides say they held productive talks toward settling two lawsuits against Minnesota’s largest school district challenging its policy requiring staff to remain neutral when sexual orientation is discussed in the classroom.
The plaintiffs say the policy prevents the Anoka-Hennepin School District from protecting kids perceived as gay from bullying and harassment.

Both sides issued a statement Tuesday night, Aug. 23, after talks mediated by U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Rau in St. Paul saying they “look forward to future constructive dialogue.” They also say they’ve agreed not to comment further on the settlement process.
No new talks are scheduled.

The lawsuits were filed this summer on behalf of six former and current students by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights after previous settlement efforts failed.

Gay council candidate says he is target of anti-gay messages

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A gym owner who says he’s the first openly gay candidate to run for Charlottesville City Council says he’s been receiving anti-gay messages.

James Halfaday told the Daily Progress one of his fliers was returned Aug. 7 with a disparaging message and his face crossed out. He said he sought legal advice but was told the defaced flier didn’t constitute a threat, so there was little he could do.

Halfaday said the flier is the latest in a string of attacks, including a July 31 email accusing him of “promoting perversion” and an insulting Facebook message in May. The Facebook message was configured to make it look like it was sent by Kathy Galvin, one of Halfaday’s six opponents in the Democratic primary, but both campaigns and party officials say Galvin had nothing to do with it.

A letter to Halfaday and Galvin from Charlottesville Democratic Committee co-chairs Tom Vandever and Jim Nix says the message was likely generated “by an unknown third party” with the goal of damaging the campaigns of both candidates.
Nix and Vandever urged both campaigns to keep the incident quiet to lessen its impact.

Halfaday said he originally wanted to keep the hate mails quiet because he assumed they would die down and he didn’t want to start an “uproar” in the gay and lesbian community.

He said he chose to come forward now because he’s run a successful campaign despite the negatives, adding that he’s not going to be intimidated.

Jonathan Stevens, a Galvin campaign adviser, said he thought the Facebook issue was a “dead letter” a long time ago.

“It was put aside as one of those nasty little things that can happen on the Internet,” Stevens said.

Nix said that, to his knowledge, Halfaday is indeed the first openly gay person to run for City Council.

“This is 2011, it’s not 1970 or something like that,” Nix said. “Sadly, we do still live in an age where some people just don’t accept that and do mean things.”

Philadelphia trans inmate being moved to men’s prison

PHILADELPHIA — A transgender woman who has been incarcerated at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city’s only prison for women, for the past 14 months is being moved to a facility for male prisoners after complaining that a corrections officer had forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to reports by The Advocate.

Jovanie Saldana, 23, who has been living as a female since she was 12, was charged in June 2010 with felonies including armed robbery. Prison officials reportedly did not know Saldana was transgender until they recorded a telephone conversation between her and her mother while investigating Saldana’s allegations against the corrections officer.

The Advocate reports that Saldana, who has not had gender-reassignment surgery, should have undergone a cavity search when she was first incarcerated in the prison, and then again each time she returned following outings for court appearances.

Lorenzo North, president of the union representing corrections officers, has said that the error in searching Saldana is proof that the officer Saldana accused of sexual abuse is innocent, according to the Advocate.

Teacher didn’t violate policy with anti-gay Facebook post, officials say

Lake County School District Superintendent Susan Moxley has reinstated Mount Dora High School social studies teacher Jerry Buell, suspended after making anti-gay posts to his Facebook page, saying the posts did not violate the school district’s code of conduct, WFTV.com has reported. Mount Dora is in Florida.

Buell, the district’s former teacher of the year, was transferred to an administrative position while district officials investigated complaints over his Facebook page. Buell allegedly posted on Facebook that same-sex unions are a “cesspool” that make him want to throw up. The posts reportedly angered a number of his Facebook “friends,” including current and former students.

Mount Dora High School graduated Brett Winters filed the complaint against Buell, saying that his Facebook posts indicated he was “dangerous to
gay students.”

Buell insisted he was “exercising my [free speech] rights as a citizen of this country.”

The district is still investigating comments Buell made on a school web page and a class syllabus, and the teacher has been given a list of directives to follow, although that list has not been made public.

Fred Karger invited to California GOP’s convention

Openly gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger has been invited to speak at the upcoming California GOP convention, according to reports by On Top Magazine. The invitation came within an hour of the publication of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle in which Karger accused the party of giving him “the cold shoulder.”

Karger has said that his 2 percent showing in several recent polls marks him as a legitimate candidate, and State GOP Communications Director Mark Standriff said Karger has always been welcome in the California GOP.

But Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of the gay Republican group GOProud said Karger is not a credible candidate.

“Unfortunately, Fred Karger is playing a stunt, and his stunt has run its course,” LaSalvia told On Top.

Voluntary manslaughter conviction an option in McInerney trial

LOS ANGELES — A California judge has decided jurors may consider voluntary manslaughter in the trial of a teen accused of murdering a gay classmate at school.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell decided Tuesday, Aug. 23, the panel could opt for the lesser charge rather than first-degree murder if they find Brandon McInerney guilty of killing 15-year-old Larry King.

The Ventura County Star reports Campbell felt that not allowing jurors to consider voluntary manslaughter would be problematic if there is an appeal.

The shooting occurred in February 2008 at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard. McInerney, who is now 17, did not testify.

Closing arguments were expected to begin Thursday, Aug. 25.

The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of pretrial publicity.

—  John Wright

N. Texas candidates prep for runoffs

Angela Hunt and James Nowlin

Dallas, Fort Worth mayors’ races head to runoff; Hunt sails to re-election; Griggs upsets incumbent; Hightower also in runoff

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Mike Rawlings will face David Kunkle in a runoff for Dallas mayor on June 18. The two will meet in a debate sponsored by Dallas Voice on May 24 at Cathedral of Hope at 6 p.m.

Rawlings, who outspent all three of his opponents combined, drew 41 percent of the vote. Kunkle, who was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, received 32 percent of the vote.

DGLA endorsed Ron Natinsky, who got 25 percent of the vote.

Both Kunkle and Rawlings have supports from the LGBT community, but in heavily gay Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff precincts, Kunkle drew more votes.

Dallas City Council

In City Council races, Angela Hunt sailed to a re-election victory with 65 percent of the vote against three challengers. Gay candidate James Nowlin received 30 percent and Vernon Franko and Brian Oley split the remaining 5 percent.

“I was humbled by the support, especially in the Oak Lawn precincts,” Hunt said. “It meant a great deal to me.”

Because of term limits, this will be Hunt’s last two years on the council. But she said she hasn’t thought about future plans.

“We have some serious challenges we need to address over the next two years,” Hunt said.

In a rare upset, challenger Scott Griggs defeated two-term incumbent Dave Neumann in District 3.

“It’s a new day for District 3,” Griggs said. “Our message resonated with voters.”

His message included wise use of tax dollars for small economic development projects in his district and stopping gas drilling within the city limits.

Pauline Medrano who represents parts of Oak Lawn was re-elected with 75 percent of the vote.

Delia Jasso, who represents a large section of North Oak Cliff, ran unopposed.

Casie Pierce, a lesbian who was challenging Carolyn Davis for District 7 in South Dallas and Pleasant Grove, lost her race.

In District 6, Stonewall-backed Monica Alonzo defeated DGLA-backed Luis Sepulveda in the race with the lowest voter turnout.

Tarrant County

In Fort Worth, former Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price will face former Mayor Pro Tem Jim Lane.

Of the five mayoral candidates, Price’s answers to a right-wing religious voter guide were the least LGBT-friendly, but Price said this week her answers were inaccurately represented (see story, Page 4).

In the non-partisan race, Price is running with the most Republican support, including that of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who is a former Fort Worth mayor.

The candidates will meet in a debate on June 1 at Four-Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., Fort Worth at 5:30 p.m. Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the event that will be moderated by Dallas Voice Senior Editor Tammye Nash and Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Bud Kennedy.

Chris Hightower, District 5 City Council candidate in Arlington, also made it into a runoff. He will face incumbent Lana Wolff and if elected would become that city’s first openly gay elected official.

Hightower was the top vote-getter with 39 percent in a five-way race.

“We feel good about where we are,” he said. “We have a broad base of support in the district, and we are going to just keep at it, keep delivering that positive message to the voters. We are ready to go. We came into this prepared for a runoff. We will still be doing some fundraising, but we are in good shape. We just have to put our heads down and keep going.”

—  John Wright

Update: Hightower apparently headed for runoff in Arlington

With 80 percent of the vote counted, gay candidate Chris Hightower appears to be headed into a runoff for the District 5 seat on the Arlington City Council with incumbent Lana Wolff.

Although only 112 votes separate the two, Hightower is leading by 7 percentage points.

Their closest competitor is Julie Douglas with 13 percent.

—  admin

UPDATE: Rawlings continues to lead Dallas mayor’s race; Kunkle pulling away from Natinsky

With 202 of 555 precincts reporting, former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings continues to lead in the race for Dallas mayor. And it’s looking more and more like Rawlings will face former Police Chief David Kunkle in a runoff.

Rawlings has 43 percent of the vote, Kunkle has 30 percent, and City Councilman Ron Natinsky has 25 percent. Edward Okpa has 2 percent. Kunkle now leads Natinsky for second place by almost 2,000 votes, but there’s still a ways to go. Remember, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June runoff assuming Rawlings doesn’t eclipse 50 percent.

In other Dallas races, with 20 of 56 precincts reporting, challenger Scott Griggs has expanded his lead over incumbent Dave Neumann in District 3. Griggs now has 59 percent to Neumann’s 41 percent, and appears well on his way to a rare upset of an incumbent. Griggs is endorsed by both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

In District 14, with 11 of 59 precincts reporting, incumbent Angela Hunt maintains a hefty lead over gay candidate James Nowlin. Hunt has 63 percent to Nowlin’s 20 percent.

—  John Wright

Rawlings, Hunt, Griggs lead after early voting

Mike Rawlings

Former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings has a big lead in the race for Dallas mayor after early voting.

Rawlings, the city’s former parks board chairman, captured 43 percent of the early vote. Former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, is second with 29 percent, and City Councilman Ron Natinsky, endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, is third with 27 percent. Edward Okpa received 2 percent of the early vote.

Because early voting is expected to account for roughly half of the overall turnout, it’s looking like Rawlings will be in a June runoff with either Kunkle or Natinsky.

But we won’t know for sure until later tonight, when Election Day results are counted.

If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote tonight, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff. Only about 650 votes separate Kunkle and Natinsky. Rawlings received 12,693 early votes, Kunkle received 8,553 and Natinsky received 7,900. Okpa received 542.

In the District 14 Dallas City Council race, incumbent Angela Hunt has a commanding lead after early voting, with 64 percent. Openly gay challenger James Nowlin, endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, is second with 30 percent. Brian Oley is third with 4 percent, and Vernon Franko is fourth with 2 percent. Based on early voting, Hunt is likely to avoid a runoff. Again, though, it’s too soon to say for sure. Hunt received 2,042 early votes and Nowlin received 968.

In District 3, challenger Scott Griggs has the lead after early voting over incumbent Dave Neumann. Griggs received 56 percent of the early vote to Neumann’s 44 percent. This race is still too close to call, as fewer than 300 votes separate the two candidates. Griggs received 1,287 early votes, while Neumann received 1,022.

In District 7, incumbent Carolyn Davis has a commanding lead with 64 percent of the vote. Openly gay candidate Casie Pierce is third with 16 percent, while Helene McKinney is second with 20 percent. Davis received 910 early votes to McKinney’s 284 and Pierce’s 234.

In District 2, incumbent Pauline Medrano has a commanding lead over challenger Billy MacLoed. Medrano got 74 percent of the early vote to MacLoed’s 26 percent.

In District 6, Monica Alonzo leads Luis Sepulveda by 61 percent to 39 percent in the race for the seat being vacated by Councilman Steve Salazar.

In District 10, incumbent Sheffie Kadane has a commanding lead over two challengers. And in District 10, incumbent Jerry Allen has 73 percent to challenger Cynthia Durbin’s 27 percent.

In the race to replace Natinsky in District 12, Sandy Greyson leads with 48 percent after early voting. Donna Stames is second with 41 percent, and William Tsao is third with 12 percent.

In District 13, incumbent Ann Margolin received 90 percent of the early vote, while challenger Richard Sheridan received 10 percent.

Incumbents Delia Jasso in District 1, Dwaine Caraway in District 4, Vonciel Jones Hill in District 5, Tennell Atkins in District 8 and Linda Koop in District 11 are unopposed.

Detailed results from all Dallas County races can be found here.

We expect Election Day results to start coming in shortly after 9 p.m. Stay tuned.

—  John Wright