updated 6/17/2007 12:31:34 AM ET 2007-06-17T04:31:34

Choosing a wealthy retired businessman over an openly gay city councilman, voters elected Tom Leppert as Dallas mayor Saturday by a wide margin.

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Capping a swift rise from political unknown to the top office of the nation’s ninth-largest city, Leppert won the most expensive mayoral race in Dallas history. He received about 58 percent of the vote in the final but still unofficial results of the runoff, beating Ed Oakley by more than 13,000 votes.

“I understand the trust and confidence they’ve placed in me,” said Leppert, 53. “I am eager to fulfill that trust and confidence.”

Oakley fell short of making Dallas the largest city in the country to elect an openly gay mayor.

“I can’t tell you what it’s been like ... to serve Dallas, change Dallas and put Dallas on a path of greatness,” he said. “I truly believe I’ve been part of that.”

Leppert, the former CEO of construction giant Turner Corp., had never run for elected office before. He had scant name recognition when he decided late last year to enter the race to replace outgoing Mayor Laura Miller, who was not seeking re-election.

Oakley and Leppert were the top fundraisers before the May 12 election, in which they beat nine other candidates to reach the runoff.

Leppert spent about $1.1 million on the campaign from early May to early June, compared to about $833,000 for Oakley.

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