Heir Jordan?

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Darrell Jordan wants to be mayor. And he has the wallet to prove it.

Darrell Jordan insists that, at long last, it's his turn to be the mayor. He lost in 1995 to Ron Kirk, but Jordan has always figured he was the right guy in the right place at the wrong time; when Dallas wanted and needed an African-American mayor, well, Jordan was just S.O.L. That's why he's running again. And, he says, the fact he's already raised $201,896 in campaign contributions 10 months out from the May 2007 election just proves how much Dallas wants him to be mayor this time around.

Maybe so, maybe not, but it does prove how much certain folks want him to be mayor--among them his $5,000 donors, whose names below make this look like an Alan Peppard column. There's insurance lawyer John Marks Jr., a partner at the downtown firm Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP; Williamson Printing Company chairman and CEO Jerry Williamson and his wife, Diane (actually, they gave $8,000, adding $3,000 to their initial bet on June 30); Belmont Group's Charles Huston Bell, who gave $2,000 to Bush-Cheney in 2004 (and, if we're thinking of the same guy, the ex-husband of actress Dorothy Malone); Charles' wife, Kathleen Bell; Maryland attorney Herbert Garten, who founded the People's Pro Bono Action Center and directed the Maryland Homeless Persons Representation Project in his home state; Darr Equipment Company chairman Randy Engstrom, the Bush and Republican National Committee contributor known to local golf fans as tournament chairman of the EDS Byron Nelson Championship; former Southwest Securities Corp. executive committee chairman Raymond Wooldridge, who's currently on the board of right-wing think tank National Center for Policy Analysis; attorney and Democratic National Committee contributor Charles Blaylock and his wife, Betty; EDS President Jeff Heller and his wife, Carol; Edwin Cabaniss, a local philanthropist who sits on the Trinity Commons Foundation Board of Directors; his wife, Lisa Cabaniss; Frank M. Aldridge III, president and CEO of Circa Capital Corp. and a guy who raises money for everything from the Dallas Museum of Art to the Katy Trail (and why isn't he running for mayor?); and Joseph M. Haggar Jr., former president and chief executive officer of Haggar Apparel Co. And that doesn't include the $20,000 Jordan gave himself: $10,000 in mid-June, and another $10,000 at the end of last month.

One of the more interesting contributors to Jordan's campaign is Ralph Oats, who gave $5,000--as did Oats' wife, Cathy Oats. Oats was the subject of a Fortune piece three years ago, in which the magazine chronicled his rise from high-school dropout to Nashville truck driver to Dallas millionaire. In fact, it's Oats who lives in that mansion on Royal and Strait lanes that looks just like the White House and was recently renovated to make it look spiffier than the original. Fortune looked into Oats' controversial Wellness International Network, which Fortune described as a "multilevel marketing company founded by Oats in 1992 [that] now finds itself beset by twin controversies: over the promises it has made to its distributors and over the safety of its flagship product, a weight-loss supplement called BioLean." The key ingredient in BioLean was ephedra.

There are, of course, many, many thousand-dollar donors; you don't get to $201,000 on $25 checks alone, though I am sure Jordan appreciates your donation, Joseph Pena of Carrollton. Like I said yesterday, one of 'em came from Erle Nye, the boss man at TXU who's been rumored as a candidate since, well, electricity was invented; he also gave to Gary Griffith, though probably not to Zac Crain. Arts patron Paul Stoffel also gave a thou--which is much, much less than he and wife Gayle donated to the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation last year (that was a million-dollar gift, thank you). Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, gave a grand, as did the Bill Hill for District Attorney campaign (hunh). One of my former next-door neighbors, assistant district attorney-turned-defense lawyer Doug Mulder, gave the same amount. And one of The 400 Richest Men in America, Gerald J. Ford, also coughed up a measly thousand. Think a guy with a stadium named after him could kick in a little more than the cost of a cheap laptop? No contributions, yet, from Jordan's good friend Harriet Miers, but as we noted yesterday, former Dallas Mayor Starke Taylor's on the hook for $500. --Robert Wilonsky


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