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Neighborhood candidate called out nationally for views on race, religion

The Advocate doesn’t typically cover elections other than the most local of them — city council, mayor and school board — since we’re a local publication interested almost solely in neighborhood news.

But when a neighbor makes national news as part of a Dallas election, it’s worth noting.

Lakewood lawyer Vic Cunningham, running against lawyer J.J. Koch for the Republican nomination for the Precinct 2 county commissioner job being vacated by Mike Cantrell, found himself featured on the Washington Post and Huffington Post websites for comments made to the Dallas Morning News as part of a story questioning Cunningham’s views on race and religion.

You can read the DMN story and watch the video embedded in the story to learn more details, but here are the highlights:

• Cunningham, a former district court judge, is accused by one of his three brothers (Bill Cunningham, who is married to a black man) of being a life-long racist and homophobe who has used the N-word when talking about blacks. Cunningham, his other two brothers, Ross and Greg, and their mother, Mina, denied those claims and said Bill was motivated to strike out against his brother because Bill is estranged from the family, was turned down by his brothers for a loan from the family and has been cut out of his parents’ will. Longtime East Dallas businessman Bill “Bulldog” Cunningham, Mina’s husband and the four boys’ father (and a longtime Advocate advertiser for his insurance firm, owned by the family and currently run by Cunningham), died in 2016 at the age of 84; Mina has dementia and lives in an assisted living home in Dallas.

• When questioned about a trust Cunningham set up to benefit his two children, Cunningham told the DMN he had established certain “milestones” for his children to receive payouts from the trust. Among those milestones are receiving an advanced degree, running for public office, reaching a certain age (35, 40, etc.), marrying someone of the opposite sex, and marrying a Caucasian. When asked by the DMN why he set the trust up that way, Cunningham says the marriage milestones reflect his “traditional Christian values” and don’t reflect racism or homophobia. He also told the DMN that his views about marrying a Caucasian had evolved since the trust was set up in 2010 because of his son’s involvement with a woman of Vietnamese descent; Cunningham says he would not set the trust up the same way now, but at this point he says he’s unable to change the terms.

For further comments, Cunningham directed us to his website, which leads off with his comments on the DMN story at length.

The runoff vote is Tuesday.


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By |2019-06-26T15:42:08-05:00May 19th, 2018|News, Politics|2 Comments

About the Author:

Rick Wamre
RICK WAMRE is president of Advocate Media. He also writes a monthly column and blogs about neighborhood issues. Email him at rwamre@advocatemag.com.