George Bush’s heartland of Dallas looks set to become the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor.

Ed Oakley is considered the leading candidate in the city. Dallas, in Texas, where George Bush was governor, already has a number of elected gay people including the local lesbian sheriff, Lupe Valdez.

Mr Oakley has been backed by the Democrats over a former construction company CEO, Tom Leppert. Other candidates, already eliminated included another gay man and a transgendered woman.

“It has never been an issue,” said Mr Oakley on his sexuality, “Nobody brings it up, it’s a complete non-issue.”

“Dallas is less and less the Dallas that people think it is,” Cal Jillson, an American political expert told AP. “And Dallas is less and less the Dallas that it used to be.”

“I think some people don’t realize that Dallas is very diverse: economically, ethnically, culturally,” said Pete Webb, president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

Despite the improvements in Dallas, Texas two years ago passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage by a three to one margin.