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Mayor Candidates Wrap Up Campaigns In Texas Cities

May 6, 1989

DALLAS (AP) _ Mayoral campaigns in four of Texas’ largest cities came to a quiet end Friday, with incumbents in Dallas and Fort Worth virtually assured re-election and a former mayor expecting to return to the post in San Antonio.

Municipal elections are scheduled throughout Texas on Saturday.

A runoff seems likely in the mayoral race in El Paso, where six candidates are on the ballot to replace Mayor Jonathan Rogers, who by law cannot seek a fifth two-year term.

Some candidates gave out brochures and handshakes amid rush hour traffic in the border city Friday, the most vigorous activity at the end of a low-key campaign season.

Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss and her leading challenger, attorney Peter Lesser, planned appearances at Cinco de Mayo activities. Their campaign organizations were both making phone calls to urge citizens to vote Saturday.

A poll last week showed Strauss was favored by 53 percent of those surveyed. Lesser, who leads a pack of three challengers, was next with 6 percent, according to the poll for The Dallas Morning News. But the poll also found 37 percent were undecided.

″We think it’s going to be a horse race,″ Kevin Kennedy, a spokesman for Lesser’s campaign, said Friday. ″We think we’re going to surprise a lot of people. There’s definitely anti-Strauss people out there. It’s going to come down to who gets their forces out.″

″The one thing that is a concern with every campaign is that there is apathy among the voters,″ said Lorlee Bartos, a campaign consultant for Mrs. Strauss. ″We’re confident she is a front-runner, that she is a winner, but we need to get our people to the polls.″

Campaign leaders in San Antonio say they face the same problem.

″One of the biggest things we are fighting is apathy and trying to get people to the polls,″ said Stacy McGhee, spokeswoman for the campaign of Lila Cockrell, the former mayor who leads a field of seven candidates for the post.

″The absentee turnout was really low and we’re trying to send out messages that we need to get the vote out,″ she said. ″Ms. Cockrell feels it will be a victory if there is a good turnout.″

″My guess is that the smaller the turnout the better it is for me,″ said Carl Mauthe, an insurance executive who is considered Ms. Cockrell’s main opposition for the seat.

Ms. Cockrell was San Antonio’s mayor from 1975 to 1981, preceding current mayor Henry Cisneros, who decided last year against running for a fifth term.

In El Paso, observers believe city council members Suzie Azar and Ed Elsey and state Rep. Paul Moreno will advance to a May 27 runoff. Ms. Azar has won the endorsement of the city’s two newspapers.

In Fort Worth, Mayor Bob Bolen will participate in his third straight election without strong opposition. One opponentm Carlos Adams, raised no money for the campaign during the first three months of the year. A second candidate, Evelyn Thomas Williams, did not to file a campaign contribution report for the period.

Three Robstown city council members who have been jailed twice this week are on Saturday’s ballot in the small town near Corpus Christi. A state judge jailed the men, Miguel Leal, Ruben Garza and Cruz Gonzalez Jr., on contempt charges for meeting to oust the city’s mayor and secretary in violation of his order. An attorney for the men has won their release both times.

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