Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg lost to challenger Sean Teare by nearly 50 points in Tuesday’s Democrat primary election. 

Ogg has served as the DA since 2017 after beating Republican Devon Anderson. She first ran on a platform of reforming the county’s criminal justice system, increasing diversion programs, focusing on violent offenders, and reforming the cash bail system at the time, saying, “If we can have the influence that I hope we can, then I think you’ll see fewer poor people in jail, simply because they don’t have the money to bond out.” 

But Ogg’s critics have claimed she has not fulfilled that. 

“The promises that we were all led to believe in 2016 were not being followed through,” Teare said in an interview at the launch of his campaign. 

Teare racked up endorsements of much of the Houston Democrat establishment: former Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis—along with state representatives, council members, and most of the local Democrat organizations. 

Ogg had the endorsements of most of the area’s well-known law enforcement officials such as former police chiefs C.O. Bradford and Charles McClelland, the Houston Police Officers Union president and its executive director Ray Hunt, Constables, and former Mayors Lee P. Brown and Annise Parker.

Ogg’s primary was tough throughout. In December, the Harris County Democrat Party precinct chairs voted 129-61 to reprimand her in a resolution saying she “has abused the power of her office to pursue personal vendettas against her political opponents, sided with Republicans to advance their extremist agenda, and stood in the way of fixing the broken criminal justice system.”

Another challenge came last summer when Teare received a $500,000 contribution from the founder of a structured settlement company and $100,000 from Lina Turek, who Teare says is a family friend. During that same period, Ogg reported less than $60,000 in fundraising. 

Liberal billionaire Geroge Soros also poured millions into Teare’s campaign.

Teare will face Republican nominee Dan Simons for district attorney in November. Simons is a former Harris County prosecutor who has tried misdemeanor and felony jury trials and claims a conviction rate of 84 percent. Since leaving the DA’s office in 2017, he has worked as a criminal defense attorney. 

Along with Ogg, many of Harris County Democrat incumbent judges lost to their challengers after a coordinated campaign to unseat them. 

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.