Voters in Harris County came out in record breaking numbers to weigh in on races from president to school board. The race for District Attorney of Harris County was one of the most disputed county-level races in the state. Voters chose to take the office in a new direction by electing Kim Ogg, with 54 percent of the vote, as their next top prosecutor.

Anderson, who was appointed in 2013 and elected in a retention election in 2014, faced not only democrat opposition, but opposition from many in her own party.

Many one-time supporters turned against the District Attorney after a string of questionable actions taken by her office. Opposition arose from numerous actions, from jailing a sexual assault victim to concealing that evidence had been destroyed, and equally important, the botched investigation in planned parenthood which resulted in indicting two pro-life activists.

Throughout the campaign, both teams held no punches in attacking the other. Ogg had the mother of Jenny, the jailed rape victim, in her ads, while Anderson began using Jenny’s estranged father to support her office’s actions. Both campaigns had wealthy backers with George Soros reportedly donating $500 thousand to Ogg, and Don McGill of McGill Toyota donating heavily to Anderson. Ultimately the voters felt more confidence in the challenger and decided on a new direction.

Ogg, who challenged Anderson in the 2014 retention election, has long said that Anderson implemented watered down reforms that Ogg proposed during the last campaign. Now, if rhetoric is followed by action, Ogg gets the opportunity to beef up those reforms and implement additional ones that she has campaigned on.

Her platform says she plans to reduce arrests of nonviolent drug offenders, beef up prosecution on animal cruelty cases, and tackle the growing gang and organized crime problem. As Houston and Harris County are both, infamously, leaders in human trafficking, she wants to also tackle that, saying her office would “provide support to a countywide gang task force that will zero in on the actual operators and enforcers” of the trafficking. She also plans to address bail reform which the county is currently facing a civil lawsuit over.

While the person has been chosen to lead the DA’s office for the next four years, the true policy impact of this election has yet to be seen. There is a lot of work to be done to restore faith and justice in the district attorney’s and this is just the beginning.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.


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