Thirteen candidates will be on the November 6 ballot to fill the Dallas City Council District 4 seat vacated by disgraced former Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, who resigned August 9 after pleading guilty to federal public corruption charges.
As of the August 23 filing deadline for the special election, the Dallas City Secretary’s website listed 15 candidates for the Place 4 city council seat; the 13 qualified candidates drew for ballot positions Monday morning:
- Brandon J. Vance
- Vincent T. Parker
- Becky Lewis
- Obi E. Igbokwe
- Dawn M. Blair
- Lester Houston Jr.
- Joli Angel Robinson
- Corwyn M. Davis
- Justina Walford
- Donald Washington
- Kebran W. Alexander
- Keyaira D. Saunders
- Carolyn King Arnold
Arnold is the top contender for the part-time position that pays $60,000 a year. She held the seat from 2015 to 2017 after term limits forced Caraway, who served from 2007 to 2015, to sit out a term before running again. Arnold won 52 percent of the vote in an eight-way race that included Saunders, who drew six percent.
In 2017, Caraway won the seat back from Arnold by 207 votes, 53 to 47 percent.
Saunders, the only other returning council candidate, works in consumer relations for Frito Lay and is a co-founder of social justice organization Next Generation Action Network. Vance finished third in the 2016 Democrat primary for Congressional District 30, behind incumbent U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Caraway’s wife, Barbara Mallory Caraway.
The remaining 10 are first-time candidates, with varying degrees of public recognition. Parker is the long-time lead pastor of Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church. Lewis was the constituent services liaison in Johnson’s Dallas office. Igbokwe was a plaintiff in a failed 2011 lawsuit filed by Dallas County Schools bus drivers for alleged violations of federal fair labor laws.
Blair is a property manager in the city’s Aviation Department, earning $90,000 a year as of 2017. Houston is a Marine veteran and neighborhood association leader. Robinson manages the Dallas Police Department’s Community Affairs office and Youth Outreach Unit. Davis is an attorney and former Dallas County assistant district attorney under Craig Watkins.
Walford is a writer and artistic director of the Women Texas Film Festival. Washington is a retiree who says he’s involved with homeowners in his community. Alexander chairs the health committee of the Dallas NAACP.
About 3,300 voters cast ballots for the position in May 2017, but turnout should be higher in a November general election.
The race will almost certainly go to a runoff in December. The eventual winner will serve Caraway’s remaining term, which runs through May 2019.
Caraway resigned after pleading guilty to federal public corruption charges in the money-laundering scandal that led to the downfall of bus bureaucracy Dallas County Schools. Caraway admitted taking $450,000 in bribes in exchange for using his political position to influence city council decisions.
Caraway is expected to provide more information to prosecutors in the FBI’s ongoing criminal investigation. Officials close to the scandal who have not yet been indicted include former DCS board President Larry Duncan.