With 60 percent of precincts counted, Dallas attorney Eric Johnson has a more than 40 percentage point lead over incumbent Rep. Terri Hodge in the District 100 Democratic primary. Hodge pled guilty last month in a citywide corruption scandal. Because there is no Republican or Libertarian running for the seat in the general election, Johnson doesn't have to wait until November to claim victory.
"I'd like to thank the voters of District 100 for their support at the polls today," Johnson said in a press release. "... I am incredibly honored and humbled that my fellow citizens have elected me to serve them in Austin."
Hodge backed out of the race in February, and said she was resigning her seat. But because it was too late to take her name off of the ballot, Johnson, a neighborhood boy turned Ivy League education expert, had to run against her legacy — and convince Hodge's longtime supporters not to vote for her in solidarity.
Hodge, 69, pled guilty to lying on a tax return, and is awaiting sentencing. She has represented the district, which spans West Dallas, the Harry Hines hospital district and Fair Park, since 1996.
Johnson was born to parents who attended segregated schools and met and married in the West Dallas housing projects. He was plucked Cinderella-style from the city’s rough and tumble public schools by his first grade teacher, who pitched him to a Boys and Girls Club program to send inner city kids to Dallas’ prestigious Greenhill School. From Greenhill, Johnson attended Harvard for college, the University of Pennsylvania for law school, and Princeton for a master’s degree in education policy. He returned to Dallas to practice law — but couldn’t shake a growing obsession with unequal education. He decided to run for office on a platform of closing the massive gap between Dallas’ neighborhood schools and its best private schools.
“I have siblings who didn’t have the opportunities I had, and they had very different outcomes,” Johnson told the Tribune last month. “When you walk through metal detectors every day, when there’s violence and drugs at your school, you’re up against a far greater hurdle to get an education.”