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Light Turnout for Texas Mayor Votes

May 2, 1999

DALLAS (AP) _ In the lightest turnout for a mayoral election in 30 years, voters gave the city’s first black mayor an easy victory in his bid for a second four-year term.

It was one of four mayoral contests decided in Texas cities on Saturday.

Ron Kirk won nearly 74 percent of the fewer than 38,000 votes cast in Dallas on Saturday as only 5 percent of voters took part. Two challengers polled a total of 10,000 votes.

Kirk called the outcome ``an affirmation of my leadership style.″ He had promised to focus his second term on fixing streets, maintaining public safety and promoting economic development in south Dallas, the city’s poorest section.

San Antonio Mayor Howard Peak took 85 percent of the votes in a five-way race, with a 7.5 percent turnout.

San Antonio voters also approved a $140.2 million package to improve streets, drainage, flood control, parks and recreation, libraries and public safety.

El Paso Mayor Carlos Ramirez pulled in 56 percent to beat three opponents.

The only incumbent mayor to fall was Henry Gonzalez of Brownsville. He was defeated by Blanca Sanchez Vela. With all ballots counted, Ms. Vela received 4,700 votes, or 56 percent to Gonzalez’s 44 percent.

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