Friday, August 22, 2014

Dallas, Harris DA races most interesting contests on November ballot

While the media relentlessly focuses on Greg Abbott v. Wendy Davis and other statewide elections, those races are probably already over as a practical matter. To me, the two most interesting partisan* races on the November ballot in Texas have to be the contests for District Attorney in the state's two largest counties.

Craig Watkins under fire
Glad to see Dallas DA Craig Watkins standing firm against police union backlash versus his decision that the DA's Office would henceforth investigate all police shootings in his jurisdiction. Takes gumption. Regrettably for him, in an election year, what's getting more press is the FBI investigation surrounding the circumstances regarding his car accident in a vehicle purchased with forfeiture money and a secret settlement with strange, self serving provisions. His position on police shootings will play well to his South Dallas base. If Watkins could avoid shooting himself in the foot he'd cakewalk through Republican Susan Hawk to a third term. As things stand, it looks as though his election in November will be a close one.

Harris County DA's race issue focused, turnout driven
The other hot DA's race this fall is in Harris County, where Democrat Kim Ogg will challenge incumbent Devon Anderson, who was appointed by the governor to finish her deceased husband's term. A lot of the debate so far has revolved around prosecution of drug offenses. Ogg says police shouldn't arrest for pot possession while Anderson suggests a diversion program that's supposedly in the works. Ogg and Anderson also disagree on how to prosecute possession of trace amounts of harder drugs, with Ogg backing the stance of former DA Pat Lykos that such cases should be prosecuted as Class C paraphernalia charges, as is done in other big Texas cities.

Another Ogg attack has been to question Anderson's handling of the Houston police detective who lied about investigating more than a dozen homicides and whether he was given special  treatment. Perhaps at some point a discussion about Harris County's troubled grand jury system might also arise. To read the papers, you'd think this campaign would be decided on the issues. In reality, it's all about turnout, answering the question: Has Harris County turned blue yet? This and the judges downballot are the races that will answer that question this fall.

*Austin's new clean-slate 10-1 council with single-member districts and the city's first ever November city council election probably holds equal levels of political drama, but without the partisan spin.


Murray Newman said...

I think that this year, Harris County will stay Republican, but 2016 will either be a mixed bag or a Democratic sweep.


Harris County voters really need to know who and what they are getting in Kim Ogg. She is an opportunistic, self serving political animal, who has used her position to exploit the Houston area crime victims for her own political gain. Rather than go into a lengthy laundry list of her actions; It can be more easily summarized by examining her close relationship to Andy Kahan. Harris county deserves an accomplished trial attorney, not a political hack for District Attorney.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Charlie, Harris County will 'not' stay Republican. Anyone that votes R will be voting just to be voting. That's just how that gang rolls in the state's anus region. Sadly, none of them have an answer as to why they constant;ly vote without vetting.

Dallas will remain D despite a corrupt DA. That's just how that gang rolls in the state's arm-pit. And with none of 'em vetting prior to voting, they'll also get what they deserve, a politician that's bought and paid for.

Silly drones & clones having the ability to choose our leaders is scary.

Good try Semper. Why leave out the list, you were on a roll until you went all vague on us. The list please. Maybe you meant to talk vague smack about Anderson and her being unqualified to be a DA. Just because you inherit the post doesn't mean you are qualified, it simply means you got appointed by a fellow gang member.