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Dallas County Democrats Seek Light In Their Dark Night

Bill Zeeble
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, in blue jacket and white shirt, finding some joy w/supporters at what was an otherwise bleak night for Democrats nationally.

Democrats gathered on election night hoping for a big Hillary Clinton win. As the night wore on however, those feelings faded.

Dallas County Democrats packed the big downtown Hyatt Regency ballroom. Early in the evening, Zulikha Hussain, who oversees Muslim outreach for the party, was optimistic about Clinton and the Democrats.

“I loved the way the Democratic Party embraced me, appreciated every culture, every religion, every socioeconomic difference,” Hussain said.

A few hours later, as Donald Trump’s Electoral College count grew, Hussain’s optimism dwindled.   

“I am scared for our country,” Hussain said. "For all of us that live here, not just Muslims alone. I’m scared for my future and I’m scared for the future of our children and grandchildren. I do not want him representing me, don’t want him representing any American. This is not what America is.”

She wasn’t the only one who turned tearful. Maryam Taeb found it hard to believe so many voters could overlook what she called Donald Trump’s character flaws, his many mistakes and misogyny.

“I can’t imagine that this could happen today, or that it could happen at all. I can’t imagine it could happen,” Taeb said.

As the night turned to early morning, Dallas Democrats could reflect on some bright spots. In the House District 107 race, Victoria Neave held a paper thin lead over incumbent Republican Kenneth Sheets. Both Democratic county commissioners held their seats, including John Wiley Price. Sheriff Lupe Valdez was re-elected with a 22-point lead.

“I took over a department that was a little embarrassing. It was was the shame of Texas,” Valdez said. “But now it’s changed quite a bit. I want to continue to be transparent, I want to continue to work at getting cameras. Right now none of our officers have them.”

Valdez said there’s plenty to work on in Dallas County no matter what happens on the national front. 

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