New congressional district may reopen D-FW rivalry

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on March 1, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 1 at 11:22 PM

DALLAS - A federal court Thursday made the twice-delayed Texas primary official by setting it on May 29. For the statehouse and congressional races needing a runoff, it will be decided July 31. The filing period opens for candidates Friday.

When filing starts for the new congressional district that stretches across parts of Dallas and Tarrant Counties, it could also open some old wounds.

The long rivalry between Dallas and Fort Worth has eased a bit in the past few years, but the deep differences never seem to completely go away. And some of those hard feelings now appear to be re-surfacing already in the campaign for District 33, where a minority will likely be elected.

D/FW International Airport stands as proof that Dallas and Fort Worth can work together. But remember, the federal government ordered them in the 1960's to stop squabbling and pick a site for a jointly-run airport or it would do so for them.

That rivalry could take off again politically, according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy.

"Fort Worth wants this to be Fort Worth's congressional seat, Tarrant County's congressional seat," Kennedy said. "And there's already people in the campaign saying, 'Don't let Dallas steal Tarrant County's seat.'"

CD 33 covers neighborhoods from north Oak Cliff in Dallas into West Dallas through Irving to east, north and southeast Fort Worth. A federal court drew the lines favoring a Hispanic candidate, likely a Democrat.

Sixty-one percent of the voting age population is Latino. But in the last two Democratic primaries, 60 percent of the turnout in the new district came from Tarrant County.

Editor Shawn Williams of Dallas South News says this sets up a race for regional and racial rivalries.

"Because you have some really entrenched politicians in Tarrant County who have really been waiting for this opportunity, and then you have some folks from the Latino community in Dallas County who are well known, but across that wide range of a district, it's really hard to tell who will make the biggest impact," Williams said.

Possible candidates from Dallas County are prominent Hispanics: former Dallas city council members Domingo Garcia and Steve Salazar and also activist Carlos Quintanilla.

In Tarrant County, influential African Americans: Pastor Kyev Tatum, State Representative Marc Veasey and city council member Kathleen Hicks.

"You can divide this along race, gender, county line," Kennedy said.

Since more candidates are expected to jump in, the likelihood is high for this one to go all the way to a runoff on July 31.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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