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Griggs, Johnson spar in Dallas mayoral debate before Mike Rawlings, 7 council members make endorsement

Dallas mayoral candidates Eric Johnson and Scott Griggs continued to spar Tuesday during their second debate about which one can be a consensus builder at City Hall

And after the feisty back-and-forth debate, a majority of Griggs’ current colleagues on the City Council — including outgoing Mayor Mike Rawlings — weighed in on the issue, saying they support Johnson.

At a news conference on the roof of a Cedars hotel, Rawlings and seven current council members — Carolyn King Arnold, Tennell Atkins, Rickey Callahan, Jennifer Staubach Gates, Lee Kleinman, Adam McGough and Casey Thomas — said Johnson was the team player needed at City Hall.

“These leaders in Dallas want a uniter and want a leader around that horseshoe,” said Rawlings, who was seen meeting with Johnson at an Uptown coffee shop last weekend and handing the state representative printed documents.

Gates, who handily defeated former Mayor Laura Miller in a high-turnout North Dallas race this month, said she supports Johnson because “being a mayor is about being for something, not being against everything.”

Johnson had teased the announcement during the debate, which was hosted by The Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Regional Chamber and KXAS-TV (NBC5). He hammered Griggs regularly about the North Oak Cliff council member’s role as an opposition leader at City Hall over the past eight years. And Johnson ended his closing remarks with a call for undecided voters to ask their local representatives for advice on the mayoral race.

Johnson said his record of working together across party lines — he is a Democrat in a Republican-led Legislature — during his nine-year stint in the Texas House shows that he can build consensus.

But as in the first debate, Griggs punched back, arguing that he had a record of “getting things done” at City Hall.


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