While everyone's attention seems to be focused on either the Presidential or Primary elections, Dallas County will have quite a few non-partisan elections on May 12th. Early voting will begin April 30th to May 8th. You can find a list of Early Voting Locations using this link to the Dallas County's Elections Department.
The majority of the mayoral and city council elections are for small towns and suburbs that form the outline of Dallas County. Cities with municipal elections on the 2011 ballot include Addison, Balch Springs, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Duncanville, Farmer's Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, Hutchins, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Sachse, Seagoville, Sunnyvale, University Park, and Wilmer. These municipalities range in size from large cities such as Grand Prairie and Irving to towns that encompass little more than a single voting precinct like Cockrell Hill.
I won't be going into too much detail for each race in every town, and am focusing on two hot areas of contention.
Dallas ISD Board Elections
The Dallas Independent School District board has had its share of issues over the past few years. Some may remember that the board attempted to vote themselves longer terms in 2009. Residents saw this as a way to avoid re-election after making some unpopular decisions. In the end, the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, stated that the extension was unauthorized, which forced the 2009 elections to take place in November alongside the Constitutional election. More recently, Dallas residents were again in an uproar with the DISD board after they voted to close 11 schools.
Board members to the Dallas ISD are elected for 3 year terms, and each serve in a single member district. In the 2012 elections, Districts 1, 3, 6, and 9 are up for re-election. District 1 is going to be an open seat election as incumbent Edwin Flores will not be running for re-election. District 6 drew no opponent.
The following table provides a list of current incumbents and their re-election schedule.
|District 1||(Open Seat)||Yes||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes|
|District 2||Mike Morath||–||Yes||–||–||Yes||–||–|
|District 3||Bruce Parrott||Yes||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes|
|District 4||Nancy Bingham||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes||–|
|District 5||Lew Blackburn||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes||–|
|District 6||Carla Ranger||Yes||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes|
|District 7||Eric Cowan||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes||–|
|District 8||Adam Medrano||–||Yes||–||–||Yes||–||–|
|District 9||Bernadette Nutall||Yes||–||–||Yes||–||–||Yes|
If you are unclear which DISD district you fall into, here is a map of the new districts passed for 2012 and beyond. Alternatively, you can also check your own voter record through the Dallas County Elections Department's website.
Bernadette Nutall (Facebook)
Damarcus Offord (Facebook)
City of Irving Elections
Irving has been a local battleground of Democrats and Republicans for the past several years. Many may remember Bob Romano's loss in 2008 by 20 votes to Linda Harper-Brown (aka Linda Harper-Benz). In 2010, Loretta Haldenwang took a run against Linda with the full backing of the HDCC and Annie's List. Now Rosemary Robbins is going after Rep. Harper-Brown with the backing of the HDCC and Annie's List.
Irving Municipal politics were also a hotbed of activity in 2011 when Mayor Herb Gears was running for re-election. Many Republicans saw Herb's Democratic background and credentials as a two-term mayor as a threat, and actively campaigned to take him down. Hopefully, we will see Herb again in politics someday, but the 2011 Irving Mayoral race got started pretty nasty and ended even worse.
Place 4 (Single Member)
Fran Bonilla (Facebook)
Place 6 (Single Member)
Place 8 (At-Large)
Candidates Joe Putnam and Tim Spink both made a run for Irving Mayor in 2011, but did not make it into the runoff election. The City of Irving has put together a candidate list webpage that gives some basic info about each individual.
The part on Irving's website that mentions how long the candidate has been a resident is very important. Irving voters respond horribly to carpetbagger candidates. This was proven when well-funded candidate Jim Rea was defeated by Bob Romano by 298 votes in the 2008 Democratic Primary. Even Loretta Haldenwang had problems with this despite living in Irving for half a decade. Loretta drew a primary opponent from long-time Irving resident Kim Limberg, and was forced to spend an estimated $115.20 per vote just to win the Democratic Primary.