As we know, today is the day that Harris County Judge Robert Eckels gives the state of the county address. Among other things, we may finally find out what his plans for the next four years are, and whether or not they include doing the job he was elected to do.
Eckels wasn't talking, but a close Republican ally, Commissioner Jerry Eversole, said Eckels' departure is a sure thing, and the only question is when he announces it. Eversole has advised Eckels to make his intentions known during the luncheon speech today, even though Eckels indicated he wanted to wait for a previously scheduled fundraiser next week.
"My plea to him was don't leave that building without telling people what you intend to do," Eversole said. "Somewhere he should say 'this is my last State of the County.' He should divulge to the people what his intentions are. That's the dignified thing to do. This needs to come to closure."
Republican Commissioner Steve Radack, who hasn't attended the address in years and initially turned down an invitation to this year's event, plans to show up today.
"We are referring to it around the county as the 'Eckels Watch.' We don't know what's going to happen. We are hoping for some type of climactic result," Radack said. "I would say the state of the county right now is in flux."
Allen Blakemore, Eckels' political consultant, has seen a copy of the speech. He wasn't sharing details, although he did hype the event.
"He will give the crowd its money's worth," Blakemore said. "The State of the County is usually kind of a snore, but it won't be this year."
"Somebody might actually come and listen to what you have to say," Blakemore says he told Eckels.