Last month, Dallas ISD District 2 Trustee Dustin Marshall found himself upside down in the general election, with challenger Lori Kirkpatrick besting him by 291 votes. However, she was 23 votes shy of the required 50 percent, so both geared up for more campaigning and a runoff election.
What a difference a month makes. Although totals aren’t finalized because mail-in ballots where voters required assistance to complete are currently sequestered, Marshall shot out to a sizeable lead after early voting totals were posted – holding 71.32 percent of the vote to Kirkpatrick’s 28.68 percent.
Kirkpatrick was never able to make up the deficit and finished the night with 33.63 percent of the vote, or 3,136 votes to Marshall’s 6,190.
Marshall was the only incumbent in the Dallas runoff election to retain his seat as well. Omar Narvaez beat Monica Alonzo for the city District 6 race, 1,132 votes to 828. In District 7, Kevin Felder edged out incumbent Tiffinni Young, 1,215 to 1,046 votes. In District 8, Tennell Atkins squeaked past Erik Wilson, 966 votes to 919.
The trustee race was also the one that brought the most to the polls.
And now, for a bit of punditry. A few minutes ago, after the final precincts reported, someone proclaimed that the election was “pointless.”
I get it. It’s hard to become invested in a candidate, argue with your friends and neighbors about that candidate when they support a different candidate, and spend a lot of time and energy campaigning and advocating for that candidate, only to see them lose.
Especially when they were so close to winning outright in the general election. It chaps your hide, it burns your soul, and it leaves you indeed wondering if the whole endeavor is pointless.
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to refute the assertion that your efforts were pointless.
I have been watching both the Kirkpatrick and Marshall campaigns from the beginning. I’ve been impressed with Marshall’s ability to win over earlier critics – including his two challengers from last year’s election. I’ve been impressed with Kirkpatrick’s ability to energize District 2 voters.
Just a few years ago, the Dallas ISD had to cancel elections for lack of interest.
The end result of all this interest and energy, quite honestly, is a better Dallas ISD. Anytime someone new becomes involved and interested, the students benefit. The teachers benefit. The community benefits. Dallas ISD will face some daunting times in the next few years. Uncertain times.
It will need the interest and ardor of communities that love their schools enough to fight on Facebook about them.
It will need the love and advocacy you offered your candidate to make sure that the students and teachers within it get the tools and resources they need.
This district needs you. The only way your efforts were pointless is if your efforts for the district end now that your candidate did not win, or if your advocacy only extended to social media and the ballot box.
A couple weeks ago, I asked both candidates a set of questions. In his answers, Marshall made a promise to work with Kirkpatrick to better District 2 if he won. Hold him to that. Hold him to the ideals he talked about in those answers.
If Dallas ISD can be the benefactor of even a tenth of the passion and advocacy you devoted to your candidate, it will be on its way to unstoppable.
Thank you for voting. Thank you for caring.