Monday, October 03, 2005

Miers, Garner face runoff in Place 9

Miers, Garner face runoff in Place 9
James Ragland Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News THE
Published: May 7, 1989

Jim Buerger scored a decisive victory Saturday in winning the at-large Place 10 seat on the Dallas City Council, while the citywide contest for Place 9 will be decided in a May 20 runoff.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting unofficially, Mr. Buerger had 56.9 percent of the total vote. The next highest vote-getter was former Dallas Police Chief and former Sheriff Don Byrd, with 30.8 percent. In Place 9, lawyer Harriet Miers led the field with 40.1 percent. Civic leader Milton Tobian conceded the second runoff spot to insurance executive Jim Garner in a statement at 11:05 p.m. Mr. Garner had 27.6 percent, while Mr. Tobian had 24.8 percent.

Mr. Tobian said he has not decided whom to support in the runoff but said Mr. Garner already has asked to meet with him.
"I need to think about it,' Mr. Tobian said. "I haven't made up my mind yet.'

In Place 10, political analysts had expected the race to be a two-man contest between Mr. Buerger and Mr. Byrd.

But as results trickled in late Saturday, Mr. Buerger's early lead continued to grow. At 10:45 p.m., Mr. Byrd called Mr. Buerger to concede the race.

"Well, I guess it's all over but the shouting,' Mr. Byrd said from his home.

Mr. Buerger called his election "a victory for Dallas.'

"Dallas has bottomed out,' Mr. Buerger told dozens of supporters at a victory party at the Hyatt Regency. "It's on its way up. I'm committed to making sure every citizen has a chance to be a part of the city. That's the Dallas of the future. Our victory today is a victory for Dallas.'

In Place 9, Mr. Tobian's constituency could be pivotal to the runoff race. Both Mr. Garner and Ms. Miers have said they would like his support.

Mr. Tobian said that both Mr. Garner and Ms. Miers had aggressively sought the more conservative vote, while he was perceived as being the more liberal candidate. The way his constituency votes in the runoff could be a deciding factor, he said.

"Garner and Miers were targeting the same constituency,' he said. "Both were heavily targeting North Dallas.'

Mr. Garner, 44, who ran unsuccessfully in 1983 and 1987 for council seats, had said before Saturday that he thought he could win outright, but Saturday night said he was glad to make the runoff.

"Ms. Miers has outspent me five or six to one,' Mr. Garner said. "We're just pleased to have done so well with the resources we had.'

Ms. Miers said her runoff campaign will mirror her election effort.

"We'll do exactly what we've been doing, talking about the issues the people of Dallas care about, creating jobs for our people, an educational system we can be proud of, adequate and affordable housing and basic city services,' she said.

As for getting Mr. Tobian's endorsement, Ms. Miers said, "We'll take any endorsement we can get.'

Ms. Miers, 43, was elected the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association in 1985. She led the pack in fund-raising and said she had broad-based support.

In Place 10, three other candidates -- retired businessman and self-styled taxpayers' advocate Frank Bodzin, 73; retired postal employee Ted Martin, 78; and the Rev. LeRoy White Jr., 32 -- never mounted significant campaigns.

With drugs and crime emerging as the top issues in the race, Mr. Buerger and Mr. Byrd each tried to paint himself as the strongest law-enforcement candidate.

Mr. Byrd, 61, was endorsed by the Dallas Police Association, but Mr. Buerger, 49, countered by aligning himself with top law-enforcement entities in the city, including the Greater Dallas Crime Commission.

Mr. Byrd was acquitted on a charge of driving while intoxicated in 1983, but lost his bid for re-election to a second term as Dallas County sheriff in 1984. He said he has quit drinking alcohol but believes the previous DWI incident tainted his image.

"I was a tarnished candidate to start with,' he said. "But I think we've overcome a lot of that.'

Mr. Buerger, who spent about $1 million in an unsuccessful bid for mayor two years ago, is chairman of the mayor's Adopt-A-Block Commission -- a campaign that he designed to fight the root causes of crime in inner-city neighborhoods.

Staff writers Kevin B. Blackistone, Nancy Kruh and Gayle Reaves contributed to this report.

Illustration: PHOTOS 1.As a young supporter of Harriet Miers, Jordan Smith, 7, plays with a balloon, Idelle Rabin congratulates Ms. Miers (right) Saturday night. (DMN - John Rhodes) 2.Jim Buerger watches election returns at his campaign headquarters Saturday night. (DMN - Juan Garcia)

LOCATION: 1. Miers, Harriet (cf 31372). 2. Buerger, Jim (cf 31369).

Copyright 1989 The Dallas Morning News Company


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