After Arduous Election Season, Johnson Emerges as Victor in Mayor’s Race

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It was contentious, a lot. In fact, at one point almost anyone remotely affiliated with a Scott Griggs supporter was blocked by mayoral candidate Eric Johnson on social media. But in the end, he not only unblocked everyone, according to his campaign, but he also won a fairly combative race to become Dallas’ next mayor.

Johnson beat Griggs 55 percent to 44 percent.

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The tone Johnson took Saturday night was much lighter as he spoke to supporters after Griggs conceded. 

After making his way to the stage and hugging his wife, Johnson took a deep breath.

“This is one of those moments that you think you’re prepared for, but you’re just never prepared for something like this,” he said, going on to thank Griggs for his years of service to the city.

“I want to commend Scott Griggs on running hard race. He campaigned very hard, ran a very vigorous campaign, and i also want to thank him for the eight years of public service he gave to the city of Dallas,” he said. “It’s not an easy job, and he worked very hard to represent his district and to do what he thought was best for the city.”  

For those looking for substantive policy tonight, they would’ve been disappointed, but Johnson said that was by design — he plans on outlining goals at his June 17 inauguration, where he will talk about “broad vision and big ideas — and we have lots of those.”

The mayor-elect, who will succeed outgoing Mayor Mike Rawlings, said that he came from a home of humble means, and being mayor of a major city wasn’t necessarily on his radar growing up.

“I come from a very humble, and very hardworking, family, of no means,” Johnson said. “We didn’t grow up with a lot of money, we didn’t grow up with any political influence, but we were honest, hardworking, participants in our community.”

There was a lot of speculation as to why Johnson, a respected state legislator, would want to run for mayor, too. Johnson addressed that in his speech on Saturday night.

“I’m a person who loves Dallas,” he said. “I saw my city at a turning point in a very, very important juncture in its history. We had a choice to make about whether we were going to double down on division and name calling and lack of decorum, and lack of unity of spirit, or we were going to change direction.”

And when the opportunity arose to run, Johnson said his thought process was more along the lines of, “Why wait? Why hope somebody else will come along?”

He said he didn’t know how voters would react to his late entry into the race, and the fact that he was also in the middle of a very important state legislative session.

“Every time that I have stood before the voters of Dallas, I have put my faith in two places: in the good Lord above and in voters — I’ve never been let down,” he said. “I think tonight the voters of Dallas have said ‘thank you very much, but we want you to come home.’”

At his own watch party, Griggs also thanked his supporters, as well as his family, for their hard work.

““It took a lot of time, and it took a lot of effort, and it took a little bit of money, but I’m grateful for all the support that each and every one of you have shown,” he said.

“Thank you, everyone, for your hard work over the last six months,” he said on Twitter. “This campaign was possible because of each of you, and we will never forget all you did. Keep up the good fight.”

At his party at Longhorn Ballroom, Griggs said that although he won’t be on the city council anymore, he will still be living at his home in Oak Cliff, and encouraged his supporters to continue to fight for the best for the city.

But the mayoral runoff wasn’t the only runoff election Saturday. In District 14, many saw the race between David Blewett and incumbent Philip Kingston as a referendum on manners, with Kingston’s supporters saying Kingston got the job done for his district, and Blewett’s saying he alienated far too many.

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In the end, though, Blewett won out, with 53.52 percent of the vote. Blewett commanded a lead from early voting on, and never let up off the throttle throughout the night.

Dallas District 7 was the nailbiter of the night, with Adam Bazaldua taking the lead early, but then Tiffinni Young pulling ahead. But in the end (and right down to the wire, too), Bazaldua won, 51 percent to Young’s 49 percent.

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District 9 was close for a while, but Erin Moore never pulled past Paula Blackmon’s 51 percent hold. The two remained locked at 51 percent to 48 percent for most of the night, until Blackmon pulled ahead at the end, winning by 52 percent.
Other races were settled rather quickly, though.

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Carolyn King Arnold maintained the majority of votes in Dallas District 4 all night, eventually beating Dawn Blair, 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent.

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In Dallas ISD District 4, Karla Garcia maintained a lead over Camille White all evening, winning outright with 59 percent of the vote.

The reaction by local officials to various races on social media was congratulatory:

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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