Stonewall Dems to endorse Domingo Garcia for Congress, Teresa Daniel for Commissioners Court

Group declines to recommend Commissioner John Wiley Price for re-election

UPDATE: Stonewall voted Tuesday night to endorse John Wiley Price and three other candidates who weren’t recommended by the committee.

DAVID TAFFET and ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writers

A Stonewall Democrats of Dallas committee recommended endorsing Domingo Garcia in Congressional District 33 and Teresa Daniel in Dallas County Commissioners Court District 1 this weekend — but withheld recommendations in two other key races.

The committee’s recommendations will be up for ratification by the group’s general membership at Stonewall’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. The committee interviewed 57 candidates over the weekend from Friday night to Sunday morning. Several races didn’t result in a recommended endorsement because no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the committee’s vote. The general membership could still vote to endorse candidates in those races at the meeting tonight.

Eight of the 11 candidates for the new Congressional District 33 were interviewed, including former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar and activist Carlos Quintanilla. Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks and state Rep. Marc Veasey were also present. But the vote went to Garcia, based on his record as a state representative and his efforts as a Dallas councilman in the early ’90s to overturn the Dallas Police Department’s ban on hiring gay officers.

Hicks expressed her support for the LGBT community, sighting her outspokenness after the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, which is situated in her district. She said her determination to improve the city and support for a fully LGBT-inclusive, citywide non-discrimination ordinance in 2010 brought criticism and led to her losing the seat of mayor pro tem. Hicks said there have been whisper campaigns about her being 40 and unmarried. She said she is a known Democrat who continues to push for Democratic candidates and platforms in a conservative Tarrant County.

Quintanilla spoke about his work with fighting discriminatory laws in Dallas among the Hispanic community. Sighting his past with fraud indictments back in Chicago for hot checks, he said he paid his debt to society and has risen to the activist and leader he is today. When asked how he would invigorate the Hispanic community based on low attendance at public forums he held before, he said he would continue to go door-to-door and reach out to Hispanic voters through social networking to engage them on issues important to them.

In the County Commissioner District 1 race, Stonewall endorsed Daniel, although each of the other two candidates had supporters among the membership. That district was redrawn to become majority Democratic although Republicans are expected to work hard to retain the seat being vacated by Maureen Dickey.

In the District 3 Commissioners Court race, Stonewall did not endorse. Micah Phillips, who is challenging 27-year incumbent John Wiley Price, was also seeking Stonewall’s endorsement. To make an endorsement, a candidate must receive more than half the votes of those members who heard the presentation of each of the candidates attending in that race.

In their statements, both candidates expressed support for the LGBT community.

Phillips, whose brother is gay, said, “No one should be treated differently.”

Price highlighted his experience on the Commissioners Court including chairing eight of 15 standing committees. But he got the biggest applause when he answered a question from Narvaez.

“Just give me a one-word answer,” Narvaez said. “Are you going to miss Maureen Dickey?”

“Can I use an adjective?” he said. “Not no, but hell no.”

But neither Phillips nor Price received enough votes to gain an endorsement. Voting was split and some members abstained. Abstentions kept either candidate from receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. One member said after the vote that he didn’t want to oppose Price because of his support for the LGBT community over the years, but didn’t want to endorse during the current FBI investigation into the longtime commissioner.

Openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, a founder of Stonewall Democrats, is a Price supporter and was furious about the non-endorsement.

“There would be no AIDS services at Parkland without him,” Fitzsimmons said. “None.”

He repeated a statement Price made to the group, that for years he was the only voice the LGBT community had on the court and that he had always voted with the community. He said that if Stonewall made endorsements based on an LGBT voting record, Price deserved the group’s support.

The committee also didn’t make a recommendation in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, in which former State Rep. Paul Sadler and Dallasite Sean Hubbard are seeking the group’s backing; or in House District 100, the seat covering most of Oak Lawn that’s held by Rep. Eric Johnson.

In Congressional District 30, the Stonewall committee recommended endorsing incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson over challengers Taj Clayton and Barbara Mallory-Caraway.

Other notable endorsement recommendations included out lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez over challenger Charlie Thomas; and Maricela Moore for judge in the 162nd District Court, in a race featuring six Democratic candidates who are vying to replace the retiring Larraine Raggio.

Read the Stonewall committee’s full list of endorsement recommendations after the jump. Today’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave.

—  Anna Waugh