A number of outstanding Dallas enterprise leaders who’ve beforehand donated to Mayor Eric Johnson are contributing to the marketing campaign coffers of three candidates searching for to unseat Metropolis Council incumbents subsequent month, data present
Seven donors, together with automobile dealership magnate Carl Sewell, have all given to 3 jap district challengers through the first quarter of this 12 months, based on marketing campaign finance data launched final week.
They’ve all donated the person contribution restrict of $1,000 every to Yolanda Faye Williams, Donald Parish Jr. and John Botefuhr, based on a Dallas Morning Information evaluation of the donations.
Within the Might 1 election, Williams is difficult incumbent Jaime Resendez to symbolize District 5, which covers Nice Grove. Parish seeks to push out incumbent Adam Bazaldua in South Dallas’ District 7. And Botefuhr is up in opposition to incumbent Paula Blackmon to symbolize East Dallas’ White Rock Lake space in District 9 the place the mayor lives.
All three incumbents voted in opposition to the mayor final fall after they permitted decreasing police additional time funding within the metropolis’s newest funds. Bazaldua, Blackmon, Resendez and Johnson had been elected in 2019.
Johnson hasn’t publicly endorsed anybody for the 14 Metropolis Council seats, although on social media, he has tended to favor posts from the three challengers. Johnson declined to remark when contacted by The Dallas Morning Information.
The seven donors have beforehand contributed $112,500 to Johnson, who’s in the course of his first four-year time period as town’s prime elected official. The donations, given between February 2019 and November 2020, nearly all vary from $10,000 to $20,000, data present.
Public security is the highest challenge within the upcoming Metropolis Council elections, and the political fallout from choices made final fall might play out on the polls as some individuals equate the additional time discount to “defunding” regulation enforcement.
When requested by The Information how they might have voted on the difficulty, Williams, Botefuhr and Parish all mentioned they might have sided with the mayor.
Solely one of many seven donors responded to calls from The Information in regards to the donations.
Joe Popolo, CEO of personal funding agency Charles & Potomac Capital, mentioned in a textual content message that he knew of no exterior coordination or involvement from the mayor.
“I rigorously think about all requests for marketing campaign donations and who I help,” Popolo mentioned. “The candidates I gave to this cycle are ones I consider will likely be good for the way forward for our metropolis when it comes to schooling, financial alternative and development, and for the security of our residents.”
Candidates’ ties to mayor
The trio of challengers instructed The Information they didn’t know one another, however every had totally different ties to the mayor.
A primary-time candidate, Parish is a pastor and founding father of youth mentorship nonprofit, A Regular Hand. He described his relationship with Johnson as being “like brothers” whose households are shut. Parish, who has beforehand donated to Johnson, mentioned he has recognized him since earlier than the mayor’s political profession started. Parish’s father, who is also a pastor and neighborhood chief, additionally ran for the Metropolis Council in 2007 and 2009.
Botefuhr, a chiropractor along with his personal apply, serves on the board of administrators for the Larger East Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He’s a previous donor to the mayor.
Williams is a supporter of Johnson. This 12 months marks her fifth bid for the Metropolis Council since 2005. Her neighborhood service contains about 5 years as a member of town’s Park and Recreation Board.
All three mentioned they weren’t conscious of any exterior coordinated effort to get them elected.
“However I believe this speaks to only how individuals usually might really feel in regards to the present council,” Parish mentioned. “It additionally doesn’t shock me that there are individuals who seem to wish to get individuals on the council who’ve been robust locally earlier than this and — win or loss — will nonetheless be robust locally after.”
Along with three open seats on the Metropolis Council, the defeats of Blackmon, Bazaldua and Resendez might present Johnson with extra allies after a majority has mentioned that the mayor doesn’t instantly talk with them.
Johnson has most notably clashed along with his council colleagues on funds issues involving the police division, notably in an 11-4 vote to chop $7 million within the police’s additional time funds final September.
For Johnson, he has mentioned it was one of many most important components that prompted him in a 9-6 vote to oppose town’s $3.8 billion funds.
Throughout his public State of the Metropolis tackle in December, Johnson mentioned that he voted in opposition to the funds as a result of he felt it “did not do sufficient to fund the fundamentals, particularly for our police division.”
At the same time as lately as this week, the mayor referred to as the council’s additional time funds discount “silly and imprudent” in a written assertion to residents, saying that they “deserve higher.”
Excessive profile donors
Cash from well-known donors began trickling in just a few days forward of the Feb. 12 election submitting deadline, based on the Information’ evaluation of marketing campaign data.
Carl Sewell, chairman and CEO of Sewell Automotive Firms, gave $1,000 every to Williams, Parish and Botefuhr on Feb. 10, marketing campaign finance data present. Popolo, the personal agency CEO, and his spouse, Christine, individually gave $1,000 to every of the three candidates on the identical day in addition to legal professional Robert “Skip” Trimble.
Henry Beck III, government chairman of structure agency The Beck Group, donated $1,000 every to the trio on Feb. 23, data present.
Steve Idoux, senior vp at insurance coverage brokerage Lockton Dunning Advantages, gave $1,000 individually to all three candidates on March 11. Robert Murchison, founding father of capital funding agency Murchison Capital Companions, gave the identical quantity on March 12.
G. Brint Ryan, CEO of tax consulting agency Ryan LLC gave $1,000 to Botefuhr and Williams on Feb. 14. His political motion committee, Ryan Texas PAC, gave $2,500 every to Botefuhr, Williams and Parish on Feb. 10.
A number of of their family members additionally donated to some or all three of the council challengers. Sewell’s spouse, Peggy, gave $1,000 every to the candidates. Their son, Carl III, additionally donated that very same quantity to Parish’s marketing campaign, and his spouse, Josie, gave $1,000 to all three.
Regardless of not naming candidates he backs to symbolize elements of Dallas, Johnson has nearly solely proven help on social media for the campaigns of Williams, Parish and Botefuhr.
On Twitter, the mayor has continuously spotlighted and appreciated tweets from these three candidates. From late February to the primary week of April, Johnson appreciated 35 tweets from both Parish, Botefuhr or Williams. He additionally retweeted a number of of the tweets he appreciated.
In a tweet final month, Parish touted his endorsement from NFL Corridor of Famer and Dallas Cowboys star Mel Renfro and his spouse, Liz. Renfro was Johnson’s marketing campaign treasurer in 2019, and the couple are the co-chairs of Parish’s marketing campaign.
“The Renfros are one of the best and so is @DonaldRParishJr!” Johnson wrote whereas retweeting Parish’ message on March 22.
Johnson additionally “appreciated” tweets, together with ones the place Botefuhr, Parish and Williams show their marketing campaign indicators. One other tweet options Williams citing her prior neighborhood advocacy expertise as causes to vote for her. A separate submit exhibits Botefuhr encouraging individuals to enroll to volunteer for his District 9 bid and get a marketing campaign T-shirt.
In the identical period of time, the mayor has solely appreciated 4 tweets — all from incumbent Cara Mendelsohn. They included two tweets on April 3 the place she talks about campaigning for reelection in Far North Dallas’ District 12.
Mary Poss, Botefuhr’s marketing campaign treasurer, mentioned she wasn’t conscious of any coordinated effort to elect her shopper, Parish or Williams. Poss is a former Dallas Metropolis Council member who served as appearing mayor in 2001. Her letter of endorsement in Johnson’s 2019 mayoral bid is certainly one of two featured on his marketing campaign web site.
Poss mentioned she assumed Johnson might be backing Botefuhr as a result of he lives in District 9 and was “very upset” in incumbent Blackmon’s vote on the police additional time funds.
She mentioned she didn’t suppose it was odd for a sitting Dallas mayor to specific help for different candidates “notably after they’ve been in disagreement with the incumbents on main points.”
Parish, Botefuhr and Williams mentioned they might all settle for the mayor’s public endorsement — if Johnson gave it.
They usually welcome the money infusions to their campaigns — whatever the causes.
“I don’t know a lot in regards to the donations, however I do know I’ve been at this for some time and other people take discover” Williams mentioned. “Once I give cash, it’s as a result of I consider in that individual.
“I think about that’s what’s occurring right here…and truthfully, I think about all of it a blessing.”