Jrmar Jefferson was previously the Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District, the bright red East Texas seat previously occupied by Congressman Louie Gohmert. The district is now represented by Congressman Nathaniel Moral (R-TX-01).
The city secretary’s website did not indicate why Jefferson was not qualified, though it could be a residency issue as the 1st Congressional District does not include any part of Dallas.
Johnson was a Democrat in the Legislature, but elected officials at the city and school board level are nonpartisan. He formerly represented Texas House District 100, which is now represented by Rep. Venton Jones (D-Dallas).
While city council members serve two-year terms, the mayor is elected for four years. Johnson is the first mayor in decades to face reelection without any challengers.
Amid pressure from progressives to defund the police, Johnson stood out among other big-city mayors and fiercely opposed efforts to cut appropriations for the Dallas Police Department (DPD). Instead, he proposed a “defund the bureaucracy” plan that would have included reducing the salaries of top-paid employees at city hall.
However, Johnson’s tenure has also been marked by tension with other prominent officials in Dallas, including City Manager T.C. Broadnax, who wields most of the executive power.
Last year, Broadnax found himself on the wrong side of Johnson and many council members when he almost lost his job due to a series of complaints including 911 response times, personnel issues, and negotiations with first responders.
Broadnax was able to reach a resolution with Johnson and the council, agreeing to improve functioning at the city manager’s office.
Former Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk was not so lucky after the Austin City Council recently fired him by a vote of 11 to 1 after prolonged power outages and prematurely announcing negotiations with the city’s police union.
In addition to conflict with Broadnax, former police Chief Renee Hall feuded with Johnson after he criticized her job performance. Hall resigned after the city council passed a cut to DPD’s overtime budget in September 2020, though many factors contributed to her departure, including her handling of the downtown Dallas riots that summer.
Johnson’s relationship with current Chief Eddie Garcia, hired in December 2020 by Broadnax, seems to be more collaborative. For instance, Garcia worked with city hall on an ordinance to curb the operations of sexually-oriented businesses.
One candidate, Jamie Lynn Smith, is running against Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold. Arnold represents a district that covers portions of south Dallas.
During a discussion about diverting funds to other line items, Arnold once suggested at a council meeting that the government needs to “wean” the public off its “addiction” to calling the police. Disagreements about police funding were already at the forefront after the city mistakenly published a memo that suggested the police would not be dispatched to certain calls.
Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn is the only candidate other than Johnson to face no opponent in the general election.
“Last election I received 81 percent of the votes and I’ve been humbled by the overwhelming support I have received as this term’s campaign began,” Mendelsohn wrote in a statement to The Texan. “With no opponent, I’m honored to continue serving District 12 for the next two years.”
Incumbents Casey Thomas III and Adam McGough are not seeking reelection.
Dallas elections are scheduled for Saturday, May 6.
A copy of the final ballot order for candidates in Dallas elections can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."