Results are in for the District 2 Dallas ISD School Board Trustee runoff and Dustin Marshall will keep his seat for the district that covers much of East Dallas, Lakewood, and Preston Hollow. It wasn’t close. With 61 of 61 precincts reporting, Marshall had received 66.37 percent of the vote, obtaining almost twice the number of votes as his opponent, Lakewood mother and Parkland Physician’s Assistant, Lori Kirkpatrick.
The first election resulted in Kirkpatrick receiving 294 more votes than Marshall, but she missed the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff by just 14 votes. Those 14 votes would have secured the election outright, and prove once again that every vote counts. Int he runoff, voter turnout decreased relative to the original election, which looked to help Marshall, who significantly turned things around since the the first go-round.
In a contentious race that divided the neighborhood, the education reform movement and Marshall faced a challenge from anti-voucher and anti-charter forces led by Kirkpatrick. Via what seemed like endless mailers and online advertisements, Kirkpatrick supporters accused Marshall as being a pro-voucher conservative and criticized him for sending his children private schools while using the Dallas ISD board as a stepping stone for higher political office. Meanwhile, Marshall’s supporters accused Kirkpatrick of being a Sally-come-lately who was not ready for political office and was not even present as a volunteer in her own child’s school.
Marshall denied being pro-voucher despite a school board vote that Kirkpatrick linked to being in their favor, and Kirkpatrick made efforts to combat criticism and show her knowledge of issues and commitment to public education.
Marshall was backed by well-funded education Political Action Committees (PAC) Dallas Kids First and Educate Dallas, while Kirkpatrick’s support was more neighborhood focused. She did receive the backing of Philip Kingston, who recently won his own election against his opponent Matt Wood, who was backed by PACs funded by the powers that be in Dallas. Marshall was also supported by his former opponents Mita Havlick and Suzanne Smith, who had made similar criticisms of the incumbent in an election last year.
The Dallas Morning News also took a position in favor of Marshall, just as they had supported Matt Wood over Philip Kingston in the election earlier this year. Perhaps the support of the city’s only daily newspaper is still worth something after all.
Marshall will serve now serve a three-year term representing parts of North and East Dallas on the School Board.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.