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Black Wins Mayor Vote In Dallas

Mon., May 8, 1995

It’s all about vision, not color, says the first black elected mayor of any major city in Texas.

“Don’t get me wrong - I’m proud of my race, but I got in this race to be mayor of Dallas,” said Ron Kirk, who won more than 60 percent of the vote.

“What we did was articulate a vision that made sense to the voters of Dallas,” he said. “We need to work as hard solving problems as we have been at defining them. We’ve been at war - let’s try something new. We need to work together.”

Voters in two other Texas cities also headed to the polls in nonpartisan elections Saturday. El Paso Mayor Larry Francis won a second two-year term, while San Antonio officials say they’ll seek a recount because City Council member Bill Thornton fell only 68 votes short of avoiding a runoff with community activist Kay Turner.

Kirk, 40, served as secretary of state in 1994 under former Texas Gov. Ann Richards before joining one of Dallas’ top law firms. He’ll take a leave to work at City Hall. His swearing-in will be June 5.

Lawyer Darrell Jordan got 24 percent of the vote, while Councilman Domingo Garcia came in third with 13 percent.

The three candidates had agreed the city needs to attract new business, retain jobs and beef up police protection.

Kirk raised more than $650,000. Garcia, a Hispanic, and Jordan, who’s white, each raised about $300,000.

Early in the race, racial epithets were painted on Kirk’s campaign material. In the final week, Garcia challenged as racist a campaign letter that said Jordan had the “breeding” to be the next mayor. Jordan said the letter had no racial connotations.Mayor Steve Bartlett chose not to seek a second four-year term.

In San Antonio’s six-candidate race, Thornton had 42,258 votes, or 49.9 percent, to Turner’s 36,852, or 43.5 percent, according to unofficial results.

City Clerk Norma Rodriguez said she will seek a court order today for a recount of several election boxes because of concern over handwritten return sheets compiled by election judges.

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