Dallas May Elect First Openly Gay Mayor of a Major U.S. City

Tomorrow is the run-off election in Dallas between openly gay candidate Ed Oakley and Tom Leppert to fill the seat of outgoing mayor Laura Miller.

OakleyAccording to Reuters, “A poll this week by the Dallas Morning News showed Leppert had a narrow lead — 47 percent of those polled versus 45 percent for Oakley. But the margin of error was 5.8 percent, meaning the race is too close to call. At least one conservative group has mounted a phone campaign against Oakley based in part on his sexual orientation…Heritage Alliance PAC, a conservative activist group, says it made phone calls last Saturday to 50,000 Dallas homes to inform them about the high crime rates and school drop-out rates in Oakley’s district — and his sexual orientation. ‘We did not feel that the majority of voters knew Ed Oakley was a homosexual and we felt we needed to alert voters to that,’ said Heritage Alliance vice president Clare Jones. Leppert’s campaign described the calls as ‘hateful’ and said it did not want to be mistakenly associated with it.”

Neither Leppert nor Oakley have made Oakley’s sexual orientation an issue in the campaign.

Said Oakley campaign spokesman Craig Murphy: “The top issues are crime and taxes, which you would expect. That’s what we are focusing on because that’s what people are interested in.”


  1. sam says

    Dallas is much more progressive than people realize. If Ed is elected, he will join a large number of openly gay elected officials, including the Dallas County Sherriff, Lupe Valdez. In 2004 and 2006, democrats won every elected position in Dallas County.

  2. YouCantHandleDaTruth says

    Dallas-Fort Worth is more progressive and diverse than Los Angeles. I’ve just moved from LA and seeing that this southern city even has a gay mayor running doesn’t suprise me. The whole mid citie area is a like a rich UN…

  3. Oy says

    As someone born in Dallas, nothing would make me prouder than Dallas electing someone who could make good on crime campaign promises, whatever their orientation. This would be a neat, visible symbol of how far Dallas has come since the days when no one was sure if Ron Kirk, an African-American, could actually get elected.

  4. jt says

    The local gay clubs have their own get out the vote effort: no cover tomorrow night for those with a stamped voter registration card indicating that they voted in the election.

    Leppert and Oakley hold similar positions on the major issues facing the city. The distinguishing factors are that Oakley is gay and has experience on the city council, whereas Leppert is a political neophyte with a “vision” for the city.

  5. Leland says

    San Francisco has never had a gay mayor. An out one anyway—who knows what the truth is about others? I have a friend who’s met Newsom and thinks he’s gay; but I’ve met him, too, and don’t.

    Jim is, of course, thinking of gay SF [city] Supervisor Harvey Milk who was murdered minutes after nongay Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former supervisor Dan White. Complicated, but the shorthand is that White was emotionally very immature, with a racist, homophobic history, and, though he and Milk had some degree of friendliness, he felt betrayed by Moscone for not letting him withdraw his recent resignation, and Milk for taking pleasure in that fact. Their assassinations were as premeditated as one could imagine. White climbed through a City Hall basement window to avoid his gun setting off metal detectors at the actual entrance. After pumping four bullets into Moscone in the Mayor’s office, including a coup de grace shot to the head, he reloaded and went to Milk’s office where he shot him five times, again including a coup de grace. But a brilliant defense attorney, the concept of “diminished capacity” [in this instance, the infamous “Twinkie Defense”], a lazy/incompetent/overly confidant prosecutor, and a straight jury unhappy with “gays taking over The City” resulted in a “voluntary manslaughter” conviction and a sentence of only seven year, eight months, of which he only served five years [paging Paris Hilton] with time off for “good behavior.”

    A year on parole in hiding in LA, and then he moved back to SF despite threats on his life and Feinstein’s public appeal that he not. Allegedly he killed himself a year later though I still think there’s reason to believe it was faked and he’s living, as he always dreamed, in Ireland somewhere under a new identity.

  6. John says

    No, San Francisco County has never had a gay mayor. In fact, it has never had a gay sheriff, police chief, or district attorney. Ever.

    Normally, only 1-2 seats on the Board of Supervisors (County Council) are held by a member of the LGBT community…out of a total of 11 constituencies.

    If Dallas is not as conservative as people think, then San Francisco is certainly not as liberal as people think. It’s still trading on a reputation for tolerance and hedonism – largely created by Hollywood rather than reality – that was built in the 1960s.

  7. Zeke says

    JT and LELAND, how the hell are ya?

    Been missin you boys somethin fierce!

    JT, I was about to call out a search party for you. Been WAY to long brother!

    Welcome back.

    Big sloppy kisses to you both!

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