Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Dallas voters will decide on a new mayor tomorrow, with the choices being businessman Tom Leppert, who the local media has deemed "a pleasant, decent, dedicated, hardworking, perfectly OK guy" and city councilman Ed Oakley, who the local media has deemed "a pleasant, decent, dedicated, hardworking, perfectly OK guy." No wonder the race is a dead heat.
Even if it isn't exciting the folks in Dallas, there are a couple of dynamics that make this election interesting from a national perspective. One is that Oakley would be "the nation's first openly gay mayor of one of the largest U.S. cities." That awkward phrase is a way of saying that Providence, Rhode Island doesn't count.
The other is that, in the nominally non-partisan election, it's clear who's the Democrat and who's the Republican. Democrats have formally endorsed Oakley. The Republicans haven't made it official, but Leppert gave thousands of dollars to President Bush's campaigns.
Oakley is expected to run well in South Dallas, which is predominantly Hispanic and black, while Leppert's base will be the white voters of North Dallas. Whoever wins will inherit a city that's notoriously hard to govern.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.