Dallas Democrats tighten grip on county as new officials take office




Posted on January 1, 2013 at 6:55 PM

DALLAS -- Dallas County became the bluest its been in some three decades Tuesday with the swearing in of several Democrats who won office in November.

But as Democrats celebrate, Republicans warn there are some dark clouds on the horizon for 2013.

The November elections for Dallas Democrats were sweet music adding to a growing string of victories over the past eight years.  At swearing in ceremony sponsored by the party, County Judge Clay Jenkins said, "The Democrats have been incredibly successful sweeping every office in Dallas County -- every county-wide office -- now, and since 2006, they've been dominant."

And with the swearing in of Theresa Daniel, Democrats now control four of the five seats on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, which is the most Democratic control on that policy making body in some 30 years.

The blue trend has been seen since 2000, when 50 percent of straight-ticket votes were Democratic. That nudged higher in 2004 to 51 percent, and and then took off in 2008 to 60 percent and stood at 59 percent in 2012.

But with County Commissioner John Wiley Price under FBI investigation, which could lead to his indictment this year, and President Obama not on the ballot in 2014, Republicans see opportunities. They say they'll target District Attorney Craig Watkins, who barely won in 2010.

"But I'm confident in 2014 with the right candidate and with the right message, we can win that seat in 2014," said Former Dallas GOP Chairman Jonathan Neerman.

But with simply more Democratic than Republican voters in Dallas County, Watkins isn't too worried.

"We believe that the demographics and just the job that we're doing in the D.A.'s office will keep us there for a long time," he said.

For now, in a very red Republican state, Dallas Democrats say its time to party.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com