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Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price Beats Dwaine Caraway By Wide Margin

BJ Austin
John Wiley Price, in an earlier picture, has been a Dallas County commissioner since the mid-1980s.

Longtime incumbent Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price had three challengers in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Still, he was able to fend them off. 

Despite his upcoming federal corruption trial, Price won without a runoff.

This was considered Price’s toughest race in decades. Not since his first election more than 30 years ago has Dallas County’s only African-American commissioner faced a runoff. But Price won outright again, with 53 percent of the vote. 

“You know I can’t take credit, I can only vote for me one time,” Price said. “The people of District 3 voted. I think they’ve spoken volumes.”

Zachary Thompson says it was a night to appreciate Price’s victory -- not a time to think about the commissioner’s federal trial scheduled in September. Thompson runs Dallas County’s Health and Human Services department.

“For 30 years he’s been our man downtown working hard to make sure the district’s taken care of, in terms of just being on the ground, working hard,” Thompson said.

Dwaine Caraway, the former Dallas City Council member and mayor pro tem, gave Price his toughest race in years, but he fell far short. Caraway got only about 23 percent of the votes.

One of those votes came from Associate Baptist minister Arthur Ray Melton. He has known Caraway and Price for at least 30 years. For Melton, Price is a little over the top. Caraway’s more down to earth, Melton says.

“He has the ability to communicate with everybody without having an attitude or a radical situation,” Melton said.

The two other candidates in the primary, Cedric Davis and Micah Phillips, each received about 10 percent of the vote.

A recent blow-up between Caraway and Price at a Dallas gospel station that was captured on video may have brought more attention to this race. But in the end, that didn’t upset the decades of primary victories for Price. 

Only a guilty verdict may unseat the commissioner. Price has consistently said he’s done nothing wrong. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.