Last Week in DA Politics

 Posted on December 03, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last Tuesday six police unions announced a vote of no confidence in Harris County DA Pat Lykos. Last Wednesday retired judge (some might say, former prosecutor who happened to wear a black robe for much of his prosecutorial career) Mike Anderson filed to run against Lykos.

Is the timing mere coincidence, was Anderson's filing prompted by the union announcement, or was the union announcement timed to precede the Anderson announcement? My guess is the last: a concerted attack on Pat Lykos.

The Republican filing deadline was originally 2 December (later bumped back to 15 December). I suspect that the plan was for the unions to announce their votes, then for Anderson to announce right before the deadline; when the filing deadline moved back, the plan didn't move back.

A friend, more politically savvy than me, suggests that the extra two weeks to file may be a problem for Anderson. My understanding of the problem is that if another candidate or two joins the race and the anti-Lykos vote is split, Anderson might wind up in a primary runoff against Lykos, in which Lykos supporters will be more likely to vote than Lykos detractors. So Lykos could get less than half the vote in the initial primary, and then more than half the vote in the runoff-recall that Lykos came in second in the 2008 primary, and then came back to beat Kelly Siegler 52.6-47.3.

The other wild card here is the grand jury proceedings relating to the BAT vans. If Lykos is hurt by the investigation, her challenger has a better chance.

I'm not backing either candidate. Aside from the fact that my endorsement couldn't help but hurt my chosen candidate's chances (and I won't lie just to help whoever I think would make a better DA), I have no idea who the best person for the job is. Lykos has done some good, and I'd just as soon not go back to the Rosenthal days, but an Anderson DA's Office could be highly entertaining.

What will be fascinating to watch is if Lykos loses the March primary or an April runoff: without political ramifications to guide her decisions, how will she know what to do?

2012 might be a really rough year for Democrats in Harris County. As in 2008, much will depend on the fight at the top of the national ticket. But at the top of the countywide ticket on the Democratic side, Zack Fertitta is running. In the primary he'll demolish gadfly Lloyd Oliver, and he'll have enough money available to be a serious threat to either Anderson or Lykos in the general.

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