DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One question will likely be answered Tuesday evening that’s not on the May primary runoff ballot: the impact of controversy and national criticism of two local candidates.
In the Republican primary runoff for Dallas County Commissioner Precinct 2, the race may very well come down to who weathers controversy best.
“Right now, in Dallas, county wide we are dealing with a crisis of trust,” says attorney and Commissioners Court candidate J.J. Koch. “Trust is gained in inches and lost of miles. It takes a lot of hard work to gain back people’s trust.”
Candidate J.J. Koch is on that journey, now. He took heat for offering to pay off another candidate’s campaign debt after dropping out of the race. Then word spread that candidate and former district judge Vickers Cunningham had established a living trust that rewarded his children for marrying straight, white and Christian.
So will it hurt him in the runoff with Koch?
“I hope not,” said John Zouzelka while leaving a North Dallas polling location. “I hope people see through some of the bad news.” Zouzelka says the controversy didn’t influence his vote– one way or the other.
“I think everybody has to judge for themselves,” added Zouzelka, “get a feeling for who the person really is, look at the more recent record. It may be a factor.. people do change their minds, change their hearts.”
While the political parties typically remain neutral during the primary races, the Cunningham trust controversy generated so much attention that the Dallas County Republican Party released a statement. In it, party Chairwoman Missy Shorey acknowledged the “personal nature” of the issue; but, also made clear that the party “wholeheartedly rejects the racist behavior and language alleged in the campaign…”
“It’ll probably be on the minds of voters– and perhaps it should be,” said Koch while campaigning in North Dallas today. “But, what really matters is our conservative principles…and what we’re going to deliver at the Commissioner’s Court.”
Vickers Cunningham declined to comment for our report. Ultimately voters will decide whether his personal views make him unfit for this public office.