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Election Results: Dallas Upsets Clouded By Fraud Inquiry; Several North Texas Mayors Decided

Erik Hersman

In Dallas, big changes are coming to the City Council after Saturday’s runoff elections. Three incumbents have lost their seats, which represents a big shift on the 15-member body.

Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo lost her West Dallas seat to Omar Narvaez, who overcame the lead held by Alonzo in the May 6 election.

In southern Dallas, voters returned Tennell Atkins to the District 8 seat that he stepped down from because of term limits in 2015, displacing Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson.

In District 7, Councilwoman Tiffinni Young is out of the seat representing parts of South Dallas, Fair Park and Buckner Terrace, and will be replaced by Kevin Felder.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, the results weren’t final until mail-in ballots were counted Sunday night. The cause for delay was an ongoing investigation into potential voter fraud in the election. Several hundred runoff mail-in ballots in the three council races were sequestered as part of that inquiry. 

The election also settled unfinished school board races. In a race for the District 2 seat on the Dallas ISD board, which represents the North Dallas area around Park Cities, incumbent trustee Dustin Marshall overcame the lead held by Lori Kirkpatrick in the three-way May election.

Marshall won by nearly 3,000 votes, though 89 mail-in ballots were sequestered by a court order as part of a larger voter fraud investigation.

Tarrant County

Fort Worth City Council will have a new face when aerospace engineer Carlos Flores replaces retiring Councilman Sal Espino. Flores, who was endorsed by Espino as well as Mayor Betsy Price and former Mayor Mike Moncrief, beat retired firefighter Steve Thornton, who’d campaigned as an outsider ready to shake things up in city hall.

The race brought in big money for relatively few votes. Each candidate controlled well over $100,000 in campaign contributions. According to the unofficial results, just 97 votes separated the two candidates, out of just over 2,600 or about 6 percent of registered voters in the district picked their representative on the council.

Just three votes separated the candidates vying for Arlington City Council District 3, putting IT consultant Roxanne Thalman ahead of air traffic controller Marvin Sutton. They’ll replace Councilman Robert Rivera, who is stepping down when his term ends.

“We knew it was going to be close. I wasn’t expecting three votes,” Thalman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I was looking forward to it being over tonight, but we’ll have several more days before we have an official vote.”

In District 5, Councilwoman Lana Wolff handily thwarted a challenge from UTA student Dakota Loupe. Wolff has held the seat since 2003.

Other North Texas races

New mayors in North Texas were minted by the Saturday elections. In Carrollton, Kevin Falconer won a runoff election to become the city’s next mayor, beating out Steve Babick. Farmers Branch also picked a new mayor: Robert Dye beat Harold Froehlich for that title. Keller voters decided to return a former mayor to the seat: Pat McGrail beat Rick Barnes for the top spot in city government.

The Saturday election also settled a handful of suburban council elections in Dallas County and Tarrant County.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.