Election night brings highs and lows in Dallas County


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Sen. Ted Cruz speaking to supporters last summer (Image: Rachel Hawkins / NDG)

Reporting By: Ruth Ferguson, Rachel Hawkins, and David Wilfong

You win some, you lose some.

That is the best way, to sum up, the midterm results locally and nationally for the Democrats. Indeed, the local Dallas County Democratic Party was excited to oust the Dallas District Attorney and to claim victory over a long-time Republican U. S. Congressman. However, many across the state and country were disappointed to see the re-election of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

These are just a few of the races which kept local voters glued to their screens awaiting updates on the votes throughout the evening on Nov. 6.

Dallas City Council, District 4

In a very crowded field, no candidate garnered enough votes to receive the necessary 50 percent or more of the ballots cast. Therefore, the City of Dallas will host a runoff election on Dec. 11 for the vacant seat representing District 4 on the Dallas City Council.

The two top candidates were Carolyn King Arnold, who received 26 percent with 3,641 votes, and Keyaira Saunders who won 17 percent with 2,431 votes.

When reached by phone by the North Dallas Gazette, Arnold shared, “We know we have got work to do, we are still in campaign mode.”

An election in December is rare in Dallas County, and as the holiday season begins, voters are even more distracted. Also, the local, state and national polls are no longer on the ballot, leaving voters typically no longer focused on campaign news.

“The challenge here is we got to get people back to the polls,” Arnold acknowledged.

She expressed concern for how long the residents of District 4 has lacked representation at the horseshoe, especially as the Council and city staff continue work on the Master Plan.

“We are the only district that does not have representation,” Arnold stated. “We want to continue the work we started with building the Master Plan with our stakeholders that address public safety, job creation, and intergenerational services that will benefit the community as a whole. Extremely honored if I get that opportunity to complete the process.”

Arnold was previously a council member for District 4 from 2015 to 2017. Saunders also ran in 2015, gaining 177 votes.

The winner will serve the remaining six months of the previous councilmember, Dwaine Caraway’s term, and then will have to face re-election in May.

Dallas County Commissioner Pct. No. 2

The Democrats did have their loses locally, including Wini Cannon’s bid to serve as County Commissioner Pct. No. 2. Republican J.J. Koch retained the seat by gaining 51.85 percent of the vote to her 44.96 percent. Libertarian candidate Alberto J. Perez garnered 3.19 percent.

Late on Nov. 7, Cannon thanked her supporters and promised to continue to help the community.

“Democrats won big last night and I am happy about that,” Cannon started. “Thanks to all who voted, donated, campaigned, block walked and encouraged me to move forward. Many said that it was ridiculous to run but I believed otherwise. We got nearly 45 percent of the vote and maybe next time, if there is a next time, we’ll get enough votes to win. Let’s see how things work out. In the interim, I’m practicing law and helping out where I can. #Stillinthe struggle.”

Dallas County Judge 101st Judicial District

The Democrats continued to be victorious in sending African American women to serve as judges in Dallas County. Staci Williams, endorsed by NDG, won her second term to serve on the bench of the 101st District Court. She defeated Mike Lee in a cake walk by 64.18 percent to his 35.82 percent.

“I am delighted that the citizens of Dallas County have re-elected me to the 101st District Court,” Williams shared with NDG by phone the day after her re-election. “I will continue to be fair, community oriented and a servant leader,” she added.

Dallas District Attorney

In one of the many long-debated races in Dallas, Democrat John Creuzot unseated Republican Faith Johnson as Dallas District Attorney. Creuzot took the lead by 20 points most of the night, capturing more than 60 percent of the votes.

He was a Dallas County judge for 21 years and was known for being a reformer. He created a program to help criminal justice reform.
Johnson, who held the position since 2016 when she was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to take the previous DA, Susan Hawk place, was mostly known and praised for recently prosecuting a white officer after shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Creuzot on Nov. 7 posted a thank you message to his supporters via his Facebook page.

“Last night our campaign earned 60 percent of the vote to win the race for Dallas County District Attorney. I am so grateful to the voters of Dallas County for supporting my campaign, and I will enter my new role with seriousness and dedication. Soon the work will begin as we work on our mission to bring real criminal justice reform to Dallas County. I am ready to serve and make a real difference. This victory is about you and changing the way our system works so that it is fairer and more transparent. Excited to get started!”State Representative District 105

Although Democrats were able to retake the U.S. House of Representatives, in Texas the State House will remain a solid red on both sides. However, the Democrats did have several victories locally including Terry Meza, a native of Irving, defeating her former opponent Rodney Anderson. She is the new representative for District 105 following a decisive victory of 54.7 percent to his 45.3. Her campaign strategy included a direct outreach effort to the Muslim community, with Irving being one of the most diverse cities in the country, Meza believed in making sure all voices felt heard.

State Representative District 115

Republican Matt Rinaldi discovered that not only did voters not forget his antics of calling ICE on Latino protesters, but they apparently did not support the move. He was handily defeated by Julie Johnson to represent District 115. Johnson received 56.73 percent of the votes to Rinaldi’s 43.27 percent.

An delighted Johnson thanked her supporters via Facebook on Election Night.

“We did it!

After twelve months of giving it everything we had, tonight we won a seat in North Texas that has been held by Republicans for over 40 years! We pushed the reset button in District 115 and affirmed what most of us have known for some time– Texans want their leaders to put people over politics.”

U.S. Senate

In Texas, the focal point of Democratic hopes rested in the campaign of Beto O’Rourke against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz. With polls bouncing around leading up to the election there was plenty of room for optimism. Indeed, as the first few percentages of precinct reports began being reported, media scoreboards showed Beto in the lead by more than 150,000 votes at one point. But as rural county totals started trickling in, Cruz regained the lead and built on it. Dallas County went to O’Rourke by 66 percent, as did most large metropolitan areas. However, in the end, Cruz retained the seat, winning by a margin of 51-48.

“This team, of which we are all members, in some way, it’s going to stay together,” O’Rourke said. “It’s going to continue to aspire to do great things. Now it may be in individual races in individual communities. It may have nothing to do with politics, but just each of us, and sometimes together, finding how we make life better for one another in our communities, or in this state, or in this country. There are so many great candidates who are going to come out of this campaign whose work I look forward to supporting, and following, and cheering on.”

U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 32

There certainly was an isolated Blue Wave that crashed onto the shores of Texas’ 32nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrat Colin Allred chalked up a convincing win over long-time incumbent Republican Pete Sessions in a district which was thought by many to be safely in GOP hands. Late campaign season polls indicated Sessions was in trouble, and on election night Allred took the win with a 52-46 margin.

“If there is any national lesson to take from this race; it’s that we can work together, that you don’t have to run in a district that is built for you, that you can run in the place that means something to you, that if you run on the right things, if you campaign on positive messaging about what you’re for instead of just what you’re against, that if you lean into hope instead of fear, that you can win,” Allred said. “The most patriotic emotion in our country is hope. Hope has taken us from a collection of colonies to the most powerful country in the history of the world. It has built a democracy that is the envy of the world, but we have some work to do in restoring it.”