By David Wilfong, NDG Contributing Writer
The residents of District 4 will now have representation on the Dallas City Council again, and with a familiar face. Carolyn King Arnold won her runoff against Keyaira D. Saunders on Tuesday to retake her old seat at the horseshoe.
“I was very committed to bringing to the table the experience, knowledge and relationships needed for our district,” Arnold said of the race. “I will continue to improve and stress the need for communication between the city council and the community and how things work, to insure services are delivered by the design of the city.”
Preliminary results from Dallas County Elections show Arnold taking the contest with 1,529 votes (59.06 percent) to Saunders’ 1,060 (40.94 percent). The Dec. 11 runoff election was held as the two were the surviving pair from an original field of a dozen candidates in a special election. The district was without representation since Dwaine Caraway pled guilty to corruption charges stemming from contracts with the now-defunct Dallas County Schools.
The circumstances which required the election to take place left a sour taste in the mouths of District 4 residents, and the influence of money in South Dallas politics was brought up in more than one forum held for the candidates. Arnold, Saunders and the other candidates who first filed for the office all voiced the need for District 4 to move past the dark clouds that had formed in the midst of the controversy.
Arnold, who was endorsed by the North Dallas Gazette, was on the city council when Caraway returned from a term limit hiatus and reclaimed his old seat in the 2017 election, removing Arnold from her seat in the election. He resigned from his position on the council on Aug. 9, setting up the need for a special election to replace him.
The call for a special election brought out 13 candidates willing to take the plunge and campaign for the vacant spot. Arnold and Saunders were the top two candidates in the initial ballot with 3,688 and 2,445 votes respectively. Arnold was not able to stave off a runoff after the Nov. 6 election as she had received only 25.8 percent of the votes cast.
This was not the first time the two had seen each other in an election. Saunders had run for the same city council seat in 2015, when Arnold was elected for the first time. In that election, she came in fifth place out of eight running. Arnold was able to sew up that election without a runoff, winning 51.5 percent (1,552) of the vote and winning outright.
Saunders was positive regarding the outcome in social media.
“Mrs. Carolyn King Arnold You and your Team Ran an Awesome race,” Saunders posted on Facebook after the results became known. “Congratulations on your win! I pray that you are able to implement your Master Plan for the better of our community because we deserve it! Thank you “
The resolution from this special election will be short-lived. The District 4 seat on the Dallas City Council is scheduled for election again in 2019, giving Arnold only seven months in office before vying for the position again.
“There are some basic quality of life issues we can get started on now,” Arnold said, citing the clean neighborhoods, crime, stray dogs and welfare issues which often came up in forum discussions. “I am committed to create a master plan, design vision for district 4 that brings together the HOA representation, public safety, business owner; every basic sector of our society will be represented at the table.”