Runoff Campaign for Dallas Mayor Begins With Endorsements

Two former Mayors endorse Eric Johnson

The campaign of Dallas Mayoral Candidate Eric Johnson announced endorsements Monday from former Mayors Ron Kirk, Tom Leppert and Steve Bartlett.

Texas Rep. Johnson (D-Dallas) was in Austin at the Texas Legislature Monday after finishing first in Saturday's election but not by enough to win without a runoff.

His June 8 runoff opponent is City Council Member Scott Griggs who said he is seeking endorsements too, from the seven candidates who were defeated in the first round.

"Absolutely, in fact those talks are going on right now," Griggs said.

Johnson was the last to enter the mayor's race but he raised the most campaign money and won substantial business community support with a message about unity.

"Our support is across the entire city. We have not run a campaign that's focused on one sliver of the city or one demographic. We focused on the entire city of Dallas," Johnson said Saturday.

Griggs counts several Dallas City Council Members as allies.

Griggs was back at City Hall Monday attending City Council Committee meetings before returning to the campaign trail.

"I've been here throughout the campaign, in all parts of the City of Dallas. I attended more than 50 forums and we continue to keep up that pace, that energy, that excitement in the city of Dallas," Griggs said.

Dallas Morning News Political writer Gromer Jeffers said Griggs must expand his base of support to win the run off.

"I believe he has to rise above being a Council Member and articulate a vision, a bold vision for the city," Jeffers said.

Jeffers said Griggs must also counter the strong business community support that is going to Johnson.

"Griggs has been a frequent opponent of not just Mayor Mike Rawlings, but of the establishment. He has a different way of doing things," Jeffers said.

Through the campaign, Griggs has said he would be "a different kind of Mayor," with a focus on issues that have not been addressed in the past.

"People want to see the continued growth with the economy here in the city of Dallas. They also want to see us address big issues with inequity and poverty, as well as lower taxes and stop escalating rents," Griggs said.

Jeffers said Johnson will pursue a coalition of the type that got Ron Kirk elected as the first Dallas African American Mayor. It would include business leaders, Southern Dallas African American support, and the West Dallas area where Johnson grew up.

"He got in last, stormed to the top, finished first, and I think reset the whole dynamic of the race," Jeffers said.

Griggs said he also grew up in Dallas and has deep roots in the city.

"We'll continue to reach out to all points in the City of Dallas, not only the center but all parts, north east and west, all points. We're reaching out. Our message will resonate, and we expect to win," Griggs said.

Several Dallas City Council District seats will also be decided in the June 8 runoff.

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