James "Tex" Thomas, one of the city's most prominent black preachers, says he doesn't think Howard Gentry can win the mayor's election if he makes it into a runoff. "If Gentry gets in the runoff, he'll never win," Thomas tells the Scene
Thomas, pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, is one of 61 black ministers who endorsed Gentry in early July, and he says, "We're going all the way with Gentry."
But Thomas predicts a Clement-Dean runoff: "Dean is climbing. He has done a marvelous job. If there's a runoff, he will get a great percentage of black votes. You'll be surprised how many blacks will go with Karl Dean. If I had to go somewhere, I'd probably go that way."
Thomas also says, "Clement will get some of the older black voters, but the new crowd, he won't get them."
Thomas predicts about a third of registered black voters will cast ballots. He says he doesn't expect a higher turnout because "all of the candidates have put this whole community to sleep. Everyone is trying to be careful and trying to be nice with everybody and respectful in public. There hasn't been a good fight to rile anybody. They lulled everybody to sleep. The runoff will wake everybody up."