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\(The complaint was spurious, and nothing ever came of the Miller was under “investigation:’ and almost immediately mailers appeared in the district alleging that Miller was under inquiry for voter fraud. Simultaneously, houses in the district’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods received mail warning that “A national political group suspected of voter fraud is currently working in your neighborhood trying to bring people to the polls on election day. Do not be a victim of voter fraudit could result in jail time for you:’ Subtle it wasn’t. The mailer, clearly aimed at suppressing the vote, was sent know who was responsible. Some Democratic activists suspect Goolsby or supporters, but there’s no proof. \(Goolsby didn’t filed a libel suit against Goolsby and the county GOP, claiming she was defamed. The case will likely go to trial later this year and may turn into a public relations nightmare for Goolsby. His opponent this time is Democrat Carol Kent. She’s a firsttime candidate who will likely make education a central issue in the campaign. Kent has held nine different positions in the Richardson school district, including, most recently, school board member. Unlike some of Goolsby’s past opponents, Kent is deeply rooted in the district. \(Kent did not return calls for Goolsby will likely have a financial advantage. He reported more than $400,000 in his campaign account in January. Kent hasn’t filed a campaign finance report yet \(her first one is due Goolsby will be able to buy more advertising in the expensive Dallas media market. He may need every penny. Dave Mann VAUGHT TO THE FRONT DISTRICT 107 H4In 2006, Allen Vaught pulled off the year’s biggest election upset in Texas. He was a first-time can didate, an unknown Democrat with little experience in Lone Star politics. He edged out then-state Rep. Bill Keffera rising Texas Republican starin a GOP-leaning Dallas district. Keffer had started to make a name for himself as an ideologically pure conservative who railed against the leaders of his own party for profligate spending. The Republican grassroots loved him. Then Vaught bounced him from office. It was a stunner. Now, two years later, Keffer is back for a rematch. Only now the roles are flipped: Vaught is the favorite. Vaught narrowly won by 50 to 47 percent in 2006 \(a he likely will benefit from the energy of the Democratic presidential primary race. More than 20,000 people voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Vaught’s district in the March primary. That’s 5,000 more votes than Keffer received in the 2006 general election. Vaught now has a reliable list of likely Democratic voters to target in the fall. \(About 8,000 Vaught is a plainspoken environmental and worker-rights attorney. He was captain of a U.S. Army Reserve unit in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. During his first six months there, he worked to rebuild Fallujah and later served in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. His high-profile Iraq service brought him no lack of media attention; he’s appeared on “Nightline” three times. And Vaught has a bit part in an upcoming Iraq war movie called The Green Zone, starring Matt Damon, scheduled for release later this year. Vaught looks like a soldier from central casting. He has a broad face, a square jaw, and perfectly parted hair. Keffer doesn’t have the glamour, but he’s an experienced campaigner. He didn’t respond to three calls seeking an interview, but Keffer has said many times that Texas government spends too much. On his campaign Web site, he boasts of helping to balance the budget in 2003 without raising taxes. The 2003 budget, which cut deeply into social service programs, was his “most significant accomplishment … that is the kind of responsible government this district and our state deserve,” according to the site. Keffer also opposed the 2005 expansion of the business tax and voted against the 2005 state budget because it grew state spending by a “whopping 19 percent.” Dallas is one of the state’s most expensive markets, and the race will be pricey. It could cost more than $400,000 per candidate. Vaught won’t detail his fundraising target or his donors yet. He reported $76,500 in his campaign account in January. Keffer will be better funded than most challengers. In January, he reported more than $111,000 in his account. “Bill’s a nice guy,” Vaught says. But he believes the northeast Dallas district is shifting away from Keffer politically. Voters may find Keffer’s views a little extreme, he believes. “Frankly, I thought they would run someone more moderate against me:’ Dave Mann A FIRST, WHOEVER WINS DISTRICT 112 For nearly 20 years, a droll and dry-humored balding white man represented this district on the northern lip of Dallas County in the Legislature. That’s about to change. The race to replace him features two Asian-American women vying for the same legislative seata H4 MAY 30, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19