Dallas, the nation’s ninth-largest city by population, will hold elections for mayor and city council on May 4, 2019. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in a race on May 4, a runoff will be held on June 8, 2019.
Current Mayor Mike Rawlings, in office since 2011, is prevented by term-limits from seeking re-election. Nine candidates qualified for the ballot, representing a mixture of backgrounds in local and state government, business, the nonprofit sector, and more.
Four candidates in the race hold or have held elected office: Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs, state Rep. Eric Johnson (D), Dallas Independent School District Trustee Miguel Solis, and former state Rep. Jason Villalba (R).
Candidates Albert Black and Regina Montoya have other forms of government experience. Black was the chairman of the Dallas Housing Authority under Mayor Rawlings. Regina Montoya was the chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty under Rawlings, and she was assistant for intergovernmental affairs to President Bill Clinton (D).
Candidate Mike Ablon is a real estate developer. Alyson Kennedy was the 2016 Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate. Lynn McBee is CEO of the nonprofit Young Women’s Preparatory Network.
In addition to the mayor’s race, Dallas will hold elections for all 14 city council seats. Ten incumbents are seeking re-election, and four races are open (Districts 1, 5, 9, and 12). Nobody is running unopposed.
The city of Dallas uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, the mayor serves on the city council—the city’s primary legislative body. The council and mayor appoint a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives. The mayor of Dallas presides over the city council and makes policy and budget recommendations. The mayor does not have veto power.
Dallas’ use of the council-manager system is unique among large cities. Most cities in the United States with populations over one million use a strong mayor system, in which the mayor—instead of a city manager—serves as the city’s chief executive.