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Runoff Set in Dallas Mayor Race

Election: Two candidates will face off Feb. 16 in bid to replace Ron Kirk, who quit to run for Senate.

January 20, 2002|From Associated Press

DALLAS — Former newspaper columnist and City Councilwoman Laura Miller and well-connected businessman Tom Dunning will face each other in a runoff election next month in the city's heated mayoral race.

With all precincts reporting Saturday night, Miller had 48.8% of the vote, ahead of Dunning's 39%. Democratic state Rep. Domingo Garcia finished with 11.1%.

Because no candidate got more than 50% of the vote in the nonpartisan election, Miller and Dunning will go into the Feb. 16 runoff.

Two little-known contenders also were vying to replace former Mayor Ron Kirk, who resigned in November to run for the Senate.

Kirk, a Democrat hoping to follow Phil Gramm into the Senate when the Republican retires after this year, had a legacy of big projects as Dallas mayor, shepherding the $420-million American Airlines Center and the Trinity River redevelopment project in blighted South Dallas.

The candidates seeking to replace him largely promoted a back-to-basics campaign, emphasizing street repairs, park improvements and putting more police officers on the streets.

"This campaign is about one thing: returning City Hall to the city of Dallas," Miller, who once worked as a columnist for an alternative weekly newspaper in Dallas, told about 500 supporters Saturday night at a Western-themed party.

"We are leading, we are winning, we are heading to victory," said Miller, 43.

Dunning, 59, an insurance agent, is a favorite of the business community and is a former chairman of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport board. He raised nearly $1.5 million in campaign contributions--twice as much as Miller.

"The folks for Laura tend to vote early, so we expected that," Dunning campaign spokeswoman Carol Reed said. "We expect that we'll be in a runoff. I have prepared him for the early votes, and I thought we'd lose by more than we lost by."

Garcia raised about $200,000. Garcia, a 43-year-old personal injury lawyer, also is a former councilman.

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