The following is from the April 18, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Candidates focus on likely voters

The Dallas Morning News

If you're only an occasional voter, or don't show up at the polls at all, the candidates for Dallas mayor aren't interested in meeting you.

Political slackers, be advised. Candidates in the May 12 election are directing their resources at reaching a small cadre of regular voters who they believe will determine the outcome of the crowded race . . .

Indeed, a dud of an event can deflate even the most confident politician, plus make him look bad in an arena teamed with snarky bloggers and critical political analysts. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's recent rally at Victory Park attracted familiar campaign donors. But the free space reserved for the public drew only three people.

"They know that it would be extraordinarily embarrassing to try to hold a big rally," SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said. "It would be you, me, my cousin and mom."

Dr. Jillson said that a handful of big-city mayoral candidates in Texas like San Antonio's Henry Cisneros, Houston's Lee Brown and Dallas' Laura Miller have succeeded in drumming up passion from voters. Less charismatic candidates face a mostly losing battle to attract a crowd.

"You know that most people are not going to turn out," Dr. Jillson said. "The question is how do you get to the activists and the full-time engaged citizen. You do that through these neighborhood associations and the groups that have candidate forums. There are just so many of these now, and candidates feel like this is a cheap way to get in front of people. That's the way they think of doing retail politics."

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