Who’s on First? 2012 Dallas County Edition

Categories: Political Commentary • Published on September 6, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Now that the Dallas County Democratic Party’s Labor Day Picnic has concluded, it is officially primary campaign season. Incumbent judges and their potential primary opponents are collecting signatures. People are talking about running for State House and Congress. I wanted to take some time to break down the hot races that are starting up in Dallas County.

United States Congress, District 30

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is currently serving her 10th term in this position (20 years). Congresswoman Johnson has not indicated that she will be retiring anytime soon. However, State House Representative Barbara Mallory Caraway has indicated that she will be running against EBJ in the upcoming primary. It has long been rumored that State House Representative Yvonne Davis has also been interested in District 30 should EBJ retire. It is possible that Yvonne may also jump into the race if she feels that the Congresswoman is vulnerable. If true, this will also create open seat elections in State House Districts 110 and 111.

Texas State Legislature

It has yet to be seen how the State House map will look once the multitude of lawsuits against it have run their course. Dallas County has gone from having 16 to 14 House Districts. I will leave the redistricting discussion for others. However, using the map in its present form, there are four districts that appear to have the most promise: House 105 (Linda Harper-Brown), House 107 (Kenneth Sheets), House 114 (Will Hartnett), House 113 (Joe Driver/Cindy Burkett).

House Districts 110 and 111 will become open seat elections if Representatives Caraway and Davis both decide to challenge Congresswoman Johnson. Yvonne Davis was first elected to the State House in 1992. Barbara Caraway was elected to the State House in 2006. It is unclear whether Barbara’s husband, current Dallas City Councilor, and former Dallas City Mayor Dwaine Caraway is interested in running for Barbara’s district.

District Judge, 162nd Judicial District

The 162nd Judicial District has been held by Lorraine Raggio since her initial election in 2004. Judge Raggio has indicated that she will be retiring and not running for re-election. So far there are a total of 5 candidates who have announced for this race:

Maricela Moore: Maricela Moore has a strong Democratic voting history, and has served on the Dallas County School Board. She was one of the first candidates to begin doing the rounds at Democratic events and clubs, shaking hands and kissing babies.

Teresa Snelson: After 2010, Dallas Democrats proved that running countywide as a Republican is a losing venture. Snelson voted in the 2010, 2006, and 2002 Republican Primaries, and has no Democratic Primary voting history. Teresa will need to address this voting trend among Democrats whom she is courting for votes.

David Diaz: David Diaz may be known to some voters for his primary challenge against Judge Martin Hoffman in 2010. Judge Hoffman has always been popular among party faithful, and cruised to victory in his primary fight. It remains to be seen what kind of campaign David will mount in 2012.

Baltasar Cruz: Baltasar Cruz is another primary candidate from 2010 who attempted to knock out former State Representative Dale Tillery who is now District Judge of the 134th Judicial District. Baltasar also has the distinction of being thrown out three times, finally by the police, of an Elizabeth Edwards book signing event in Dallas several years ago.

Scott Perry: Scott Perry appears to be a new face in this race when he appeared at the DCDP’s Labor Day Picnic. Mr. Perry has a solid Democratic primary voting history stretching back to 1992, which is as far back as my records go.

Criminal District Judge, Count No. 4

John Creuzot is the incumbent judge for Criminal District Court 4, and has served since 2008. Judge Creuzot has indicated that he will be retiring and not seeking re-election. So far three candidates have announced their intention to run for this seat.

JR Cook: JR Cook appears to have been one of the first to announce his run for this office. JR voted in the 2010 Democratic Primary, and operates his own criminal defense law practice.

Dominique Collins: Dominique works at the District Attorney’s office, and has a history of voting in Democratic Primaries (2010, 2008). In 2010, Hector Garza was required to resign from the DA’s office when he filed for a place on the ballot. I have been informed that DA Watkins has changed this policy, and will not require Dominique to resign when she files.

Richard Carrizales: Richard has a Democratic voting history (2008, 2006, and 2002), although he missed 2010. Richard also operates his own criminal defense law practice. I have been informed that Richard has decided not to run in this race.

County Commissioner, District 1

In 2010, Democrats gained majority on the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, and have subsequently redistricted District 1 to be a Democratic-opportunity district. This seat is currently held by Maurine Dickey who along with her husband owns the Dickey’s BBQ franchise. The district is also a minority-majority district with a large Hispanic voting age population. Originally, it was rumored that there were over 7 potential candidates interested in running. Since the map was finalized, that number has now sized itself down to 3.

Daniel Clayton: Daniel Clayton has served as Political Director and State Legislative Aide for State Senator Royce West’s office since 2007. Before joining Senator West’s office, Daniel also served as the Executive Director for the Dallas County and Tarrant County Democratic Parties. Daniel was the first individual to announce a little over two months ago.

Theresa Daniel: Theresa Daniel currently works for the Dallas ISD as Manager of Academic Accountability, and has served on the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) since 1996 representing State Senate District 16. Theresa has been a long-time activist within Dallas County, and served as interim county chair after Susan Hays resigned prior to Darlene Ewing’s election. Theresa recently announced her candidacy at the White Rock/Lake Highland Democrats club meeting.

Pauline Medrano (?): Pauline Medrano has served on the Dallas City Council for nearly 7 years, and is currently the Mayor Pro Tem. Pauline has not announced a formal decision to run, but was present at the DCDP Labor Day Picnic with a number of her City Council yard signs present. According to Dallas City Charter, Pauline will be required to resign her seat on the city council the moment that she announces any plans to run for partisan office.

DCDP County Chair

Darlene Ewing has served as County Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party since Precinct Chairs forced out Susan Hays in 2005. Since that time she has helped rebuild the DCDP from the ground up, which has resulted in Democrats sweeping countywide elections in 2006, 2008, and 2010. As the back of Darlene’s campaign shirt says, “91 Wins, 0 Losses.” After the 2010 elections, Darlene announced that she would serve one more term and then hand over the reins to someone else.

A car salesman from Grand Prairie named Lymon King has been collecting signatures to run for County Chair in the 2012 Democratic Primary. Lymon was absent from the DCDP’s Labor Day Picnic. At last count, Darlene has accumulated over 200 Precinct Chair endorsements along with the majority of elected officials throughout the county.

Sean Hubbard, who is currently running for U.S. Senate, also made an attempt to run against Darlene Ewing for County Chair in 2010. However, he was unable to collect the minimum 36 Precinct Chair signatures required to appear on the ballot. It is unclear whether or not Mr. King has enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Who else is up for re-election in 2012?

I keep hearing rumors that somebody named Barack Obama might be running for President. However, I am sure most people are interested in reading about who else is going to be on their ballot for countywide offices in Dallas County. Here is the list of countywide or commissioner court offices up for re-election in 2012 along with their current incumbent.

Dallas County Elected Office Incumbent
District Judge, 14th Judicial District Eric V. Moye (D)
District Judge, 95th Judicial District Ken Molberg (D)
District Judge, 162th Judicial District (Open Seat)
Criminal District Judge, Court No 2 Don Adams (D)
Criminal District Judge, Court No 3 Gracie Lewis (D)
Criminal District Judge, Court No 4 (Open Seat)
Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D)
County Tax Assessor-Collector John R. Ames (D)
County Commissioner, Precinct No 1 Maurine Dickey (R)
County Commissioner, Precinct No 3 John Wiley Price (D)
County Chair (Primary Only) Darlene Ewing (D)