A number of distinguished Dallas enterprise leaders who’ve beforehand donated to Mayor Eric Johnson are contributing to the marketing campaign coffers of three candidates looking for to unseat Metropolis Council incumbents subsequent month, data present
Seven donors, together with automotive dealership magnate Carl Sewell, have all given to a few jap district challengers through the first quarter of this yr, in response to 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, in response to a Dallas Morning Information evaluation of the donations.
In the May 1 election, Williams is difficult incumbent Jaime Resendez to characterize 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 characterize 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 approved reducing police overtime funding in the city’s latest budget. Bazaldua, Blackmon, Resendez and Johnson have 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 midst of his first four-year time period as the town’s high elected official. The donations, given between February 2019 and November 2020, virtually all vary from $10,000 to $20,000, data present.
Public security is the highest subject 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 extra time discount to “defunding” legislation enforcement.
When requested by The Information how they might have voted on the difficulty, Williams, Botefuhr and Parish all stated 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, stated in a textual content message that he knew of no outdoors coordination or involvement from the mayor.
“I rigorously take into account all requests for marketing campaign donations and who I help,” Popolo stated. “The candidates I gave to this cycle are ones I consider shall be good for the way forward for our metropolis when it comes to schooling, financial alternative and progress, and for the security of our residents.”
Candidates’ ties to mayor
The trio of challengers informed The Information they didn’t know one another, however every had completely 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, stated he has identified 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 Better East Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He’s a previous donor to the mayor.
Williams is a supporter of Johnson. This yr marks her fifth bid for the Metropolis Council since 2005. Her neighborhood service contains about 5 years as a member of the town’s Park and Recreation Board.
All three stated they weren’t conscious of any exterior coordinated effort to get them elected.
“However I believe this speaks to simply how individuals typically might really feel in regards to the present council,” Parish stated. “It additionally doesn’t shock me that there are individuals who seem to need to get individuals on the council who’ve been robust in the neighborhood earlier than this and — win or loss — will nonetheless be robust in the neighborhood 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 stated that the mayor doesn’t directly communicate with them.
Johnson has most notably clashed along with his council colleagues on funds issues involving the police division, significantly in an 11-4 vote to chop $7 million within the police’s extra time funds final September.
For Johnson, he has stated it was one of many major elements that prompted him in a 9-6 vote to oppose the city’s $3.8 billion budget.
Throughout his public State of the Metropolis deal with in December, Johnson stated that he voted in opposition to the funds as a result of he felt it “didn’t do sufficient to fund the fundamentals, particularly for our police division.”
Even as recently as this week, the mayor referred to as the council’s extra 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, in response to the Information’ evaluation of marketing campaign data.
Carl Sewell, chairman and CEO of Sewell Automotive Corporations, 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 lawyer Robert “Skip” Trimble.
Henry Beck III, govt chairman of structure agency The Beck Group, donated $1,000 every to the trio on Feb. 23, data present.
Steve Idoux, senior vice chairman 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 relations 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 characterize components of Dallas, Johnson has virtually solely proven help on social media for the campaigns of Williams, Parish and Botefuhr.
On Twitter, the mayor has regularly spotlighted and preferred tweets from these three candidates. From late February to the primary week of April, Johnson preferred 35 tweets from both Parish, Botefuhr or Williams. He additionally retweeted a number of of the tweets he preferred.
In a tweet final month, Parish touted his endorsement from NFL Hall of Famer and Dallas Cowboys star Mel Renfro and his wife, 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 the most effective and so is @DonaldRParishJr!” Johnson wrote while retweeting Parish’ message on March 22.
Johnson additionally “preferred” tweets, together with ones the place Botefuhr, Parish and Williams show their marketing campaign indicators. One other tweet options Williams citing her prior community advocacy experience as reasons to vote for her. A separate publish exhibits Botefuhr encouraging individuals to enroll to volunteer for his District 9 bid and get a campaign T-shirt.
In the identical period of time, the mayor has solely preferred 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, stated 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 performing mayor in 2001. Her letter of endorsement in Johnson’s 2019 mayoral bid is one in every of two featured on his marketing campaign web site.
Poss stated she assumed Johnson may very well be backing Botefuhr as a result of he lives in District 9 and was “very dissatisfied” in incumbent Blackmon’s vote on the police extra time funds.
She stated she didn’t suppose it was odd for a sitting Dallas mayor to specific help for different candidates “significantly after they’ve been in disagreement with the incumbents on main points.”
Parish, Botefuhr and Williams stated 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 folks take discover” Williams stated. “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 actually, I take into account all of it a blessing.”