Mayor Karl Dean struck out twice, but has one more chance to prevail, on the three key Metro Council races he put his political weight behind.
When the dust cleared on election night, District 28 Councilman Duane Dominy and District 24 Councilman Jason Holleman had won their races, overcoming Dean’s opposition. Meanwhile, District 33 Councilman Robert Duvall is heading to the Sept. 15 runoff, squaring off against Page Turner, whom Dean backs.
In the final weeks of campaigning, Dean had dabbled in other races –– popping up on various campaign mail-pieces –– but these three races were his first political plays and biggest gambles.
“Most of the folks I spoke to out here weren’t pleased with Dean,” said Dominy, recollecting on the mayor’s support for his opponent, Tanaka Vercher. “My job is to represent this district, and last time I checked, Karl Dean’s address is not inside this district.”
Still, in a landslide, Dean won 79 percent of the vote in his election, a figure not far from former Mayor Bill Purcell’s 84 percent in 2003 when he defeated a crop of no-name candidates.
Dominy, who finished with 54 percent of the vote in his race, has been one of Dean’s most outspoken critics on his handling of the fairgrounds issue. The Antioch-area councilman took pleasure in seeing the fairgrounds charter amendment approved overwhelmingly.
“I disagreed with what his position was, as did obviously the people in this city, and this district,” Dominy said.
Garnering the most headlines had been council’s District 24 race, a contest that saw Dean and some of his most prominent backers rally behind attorney Sarah Lodge Tally to try to unseat Councilman Jason Holleman. The Sylvan Park-area councilman had voted against financing the city’s convention center and questioned the mayor’s fairgrounds stance. He beat Tally by a 59-41 percent margin.
“I think at the end of the day, district races are decided on neighborhood issues, and for the last four years I’ve worked very hard to communicate with our neighborhoods and advocate for their interests,” Holleman said.
When asked if Dean’s backing of his opponent would complicate his relations with Dean’s administration, Holleman said he hoped not: “We have a lot of important work to do.”
Heading to a run-off is the District 33 race between Councilman Robert Duvall and challenger Page Turner, who Dean supported on a campaign mail-piece. Duvall claimed 46 percent of the vote on election night, while Turner took 40 percent.
Many will watch to see whether Dean continues to offer Turner his political help.
“I don’t not see any reason to believe he wouldn’t,” Duvall said of that scenario. “I will overcome it.”
Dean also appeared on campaign flyers for District 25 Councilman Sean McGuire and District 35 Councilman Bo Mitchell, who both won convincingly. But both incumbents were considered heavy favorites to win re-election.
Both District 18 candidates –– Burkley Allen and David Glasgow –– also featured Dean on campaign material. Allen won narrowly.
Moving forward, some observers may speculate whether Dean could have made a greater difference in the District 16 race in which one of his council allies, Councilwoman Anna Page, lost to Tony Tenpenny.
Page, who lost by just 12 votes, had beaten Tenpenny in prior elections, but the force of the fairgrounds issue may have been too much to overcome. The 117-acre fairgrounds borders her district. Page voted in line with the mayor on its redevelopment.
“I do believe the fairgrounds issue hurt me,” Page said. “And I believe that the lack of education on the fairgrounds hurt me.”
Asked if she could have used more help from Dean in her campaign, Page said, “I needed to stand on my own record.”