Harris County’s biggest upset was a nail-biter: County Judge Ed Emmett lost to 27-year-old graduate student, Lina Hidalgo. Hidalgo garnered 49 percent to Emmett’s 48.

Emmett has been in his position since 2007, after previously serving in the Texas Legislature. Hidalgo, a native of Colombia, is a Stanford alumna who left graduate school to run for the position.

Hidalgo’s campaign has centered around flood control, criminal justice, and public transportation.

“I never thought I would work in politics; I never thought I would run for office,” said Hidalgo in her victory speech. “But I had to step up and, the truth is, this year with the turnout we saw, we all stepped up.”

Hidalgo emphasized how it was the grassroots involvement that lifted her to victory.

“Democracy depends on our participation and we stepped up,” she said. “I hope that folks who remember this day and this year will remember the people who stood in line, who voted, who marched, and who volunteered.”

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.