District 14 incumbent David Blewett said he was stuck in the middle between two viable rivals during the runoff, which is why Paul Ridley, a former planning commissioner and retired attorney, was victorious.
“Paul Ridley had all the attributes of the candidate Philip Kingston whom I beat two years ago,” Blewett told the Dallas Express. “Ridley had Kingston’s team and all of his support that was transferred over to him and then the other candidate, Elizabeth Viney, was well-funded and came at me from the right. She did a pretty good job of boxing me in.”
Ridley took 61% of the vote over Blewett, who works as a successful businessman, according to media reports.
“I’ve been given lots of advice on what we should or shouldn’t have done but you got to be true to who you are and I wasn’t going to start slinging mud or doing things that aren’t me,” Blewett said in an interview.
Among the general election races, Blewett was the only council incumbent who lost to a challenger.
“There’s always things you can do better,” he said. “We did not do a good enough job telling the story of our accomplishments. It was hard to communicate because of COVID. It’s also more difficult to do the job and run for the job than it is to just run for the job. I wish I’d put more time into it.”
The accomplishments that Blewett tried to communicate include public safety issues.
“We have some problem bars on Greenville Avenue and uptown that I’ve been working very hard to get under control but this race wasn’t as much about issues as I wish it would have been,” he said. “There was a narrative on one side that was all about defunding the police and I couldn’t get through the counter-argument, which is effective policing and accomplishments that we’ve done there. So, that was a problem.”
District 14 covers parts of downtown, Uptown and East Dallas, and during a second term, Blewett had hoped to pass new ordinances that would have curbed street racing on the Central Expressway, which divides the East and the Westside.
“Also short-term rentals are what they call Airbnb party houses, which is an issue I’ve been working on for a long time with task forces and proposals,” he said. “We just started writing the ordinance of how we were going to get these out-of-control party houses managed because when you have one in a particular subdivision that’s having 40, 50, 80 and 200 people over on a Saturday night and that’s rolling every weekend, people who live on that street can’t sleep at night.”
Although Blewett isn’t planning on disappearing into the night, he says he will take time now to focus on his business and family of seven children.
“I don’t know when or if I’ll run again but I’ll definitely stay engaged,” he said. “I care about Dallas. I care about the things I talked about and I want this city to be a place that I can raise my family and other people can too. So, I’m not just going to walk away. Right now, I’m staring at boxes from the council office that I am unpacking. It feels like I just moved. It’s weird.”
Ridley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.