State Rep. Eric Johnson, a surprise late entry in the Dallas mayoral race, finished first in votes on election night and heads toward the June 8 runoff as likely the better-funded candidate.
(ABOVE – LEFT: Scott Griggs is a former Dallas city council member from North Oak Cliff. RIGHT: Eric Johnson represents South and West Dallas in the Texas Legislature. Courtesy photos)
After getting 16,374 votes – a little more than 20 percent – in a bid to replace Mayor Mike Rawlings, Johnson faces Scott Griggs, the city council member from North Oak Cliff, who received 14,901 votes, more than 18 percent. Both of them are lawyers.
In the crowded field with nine candidates on the ballot, Lynn McBee and Mike Albon were third and fourth, respectively, with 14 and 13 percent of the vote.
The most recent campaign finance reports, filed 30 days before the May 4 election, showed Johnson raising more than twice as much as Griggs and having almost four times as much cash on hand for the mayoral campaign.
Griggs had raised $225,000, spent $97,000, and had $110,000 in cash on hand.
Johnson had raised $524,000 and spent $151,000. He had $839,000 in cash, but only $432,000 of that was available for the mayoral campaign. The balance was from his legislative campaign fundraising.
The next campaign finance reports are due May 31.
Johnson, a Democrat, first won House District 100 in 2010. It includes South and West Dallas, the Cedars and Fair Park, and an eastern swath toward Mesquite.
“Johnson seems to be the clear favorite,” said Matthew Wilson, author and SMU associate professor of political science.
“He has assembled a coalition of African-American voters and business interests that is in many ways reminiscent of [former mayor Ron] Kirk.”
Kirk has endorsed Johnson as have former mayors Tom Leppert, and Steve Bartlett, while Griggs has campaigned on the need for a “new kind of mayor.”
“The mayors of the past have not worked,” he said.
Griggs has the support of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, Dallas Police Retired Officers Association, Retired Dallas Fire Department, and, most recently, the Dallas Police Association.
D Magazine described Griggs as a “hawk for details” and a “big fan of the word ‘boondoggle’” who’s “been outspoken against major projects like the Trinity Toll Road and the broken pedestrian bridge along Interstate 30.”
Johnson recently received endorsements from five members of the Dallas ISD board: trustees Edwin Flores, Justin Henry, Dustin Marshall, Dan Micciche, and incoming trustee Maxie Johnson.
“As a public school parent, Johnson understands the needs and challenges of our students and families,” Flores said. “He has the skills and knowledge to help Dallas ISD educate every student for success.”
Johnson attended DISD schools through the first grade before earning Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas scholarship to Greenhill School.
“The district has made tremendous strides in recent years, and that’s due in large part to the work of the trustees,” Johnson said. “I have had a strong working relationship with these local education leaders as a state representative, and I will continue collaborating with them.”
Tim Glaze contributed to this article.