I was going to say it was a slow week in candidate filings until this happened.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who has led that office since 1977, told his staff today that he will not seek re-election.
He was expected to issue a statement later.
Earle, 65, will serve the one year remaining on his term, but his retirement will end an era.
"Is the district attorney's job an elective office?" Ken Oden, a former county attorney, once quipped about his friend's long tenure.
Earle, a Democrat, might not be done with politics.
By retiring, he would be available for a gubernatorial bid in 2010.
It would be his first statewide campaign -- and a longshot at that -- but it would give Earle, who has a populist streak, the opportunity to speak out on issues other than criminal justice. In court he once accused corporations of trying to buy state elections, likening them to robber barrons and facists.
Today's announcement kicks off what could be a crowded race to replace Earle.
For the past two months, would-be successors have been weighing a campaign as speculation grew that the longtime prosecutor would not seek re-election.
As many as half-a-dozen Democrats are mentioned as possible candidates. Three prosecutors from within Earle's office might make the race: Rick Reed, 52, who joined Earle's staff after losing a 1998 race for Dallas County district attorney; Gary Cobb, 46, who's been a prosecutor since 1990; and Mindy Montford, 37, who worked in the Harris County District Attorney's Office before joining Earle's staff in 1999. She is the daughter of former state Sen. John Montford.
Outside Earle's staff are two possible candidates: Jeanne Meurer, 54, retiring this year as state district judge; and Randy Leavitt, 53, a longtime defense attorney who became the first assistant county attorney in 2004.
If no Republican candidate surfaces, the race to be the county's next elected felony prosecutor will be a sprint. Early voting for the March 4 primaries begins Feb. 19.
Meanwhile, we finally had a little bit of action on the Congressional challenger front, as Brian Ruiz made formal his candidacy in CD31, and a fellow named Steve Bush jumped into CD06. That was a district for which race-tracker Benawu had heard nothing previously; with its location of a challenger, Texas Dems now appear to be on track to at least compete in half of the Republican-held seats this year. That is a big dropoff from 2006, and I'm still not sure why, but it is how it is.
I'm still waiting on an update to the status of CD07. There have been a few straws in the wind, but no clear direction yet from any of the potential Democratic contenders. This may wind up being one of those last minute filings (or, heaven forfend, non-filings).
A couple more State House primary challenges have been confirmed. The opponent to State Rep. Jessica Farrar filed yesterday. I've said my piece about that one, though I'm sure I'll be saying it again. Over in Austin, the challenger to State Rep. Dawnna "Viva Las Vegas!" Dukes sent out an email this morning giving a fairly unsubtle hint about his plans:
After an outpouring of encouragement from friends, activists, and East Austin community leaders, I filed paperwork to begin exploring a potential run for State Representative in HD 46 (East Austin). In one short week our grassroots campaign has already raised more than $6500 online. Obviously, our community is appalled by the incumbent's endorsement of Republican Speaker Tom Craddick's failed ideology of starving public schools and denying children health care.
On Tuesday, December 18, I will make an announcement regarding my intentions for House District 46. We sincerely hope you can join us for this big event. We will be in East Austin at Vivo's Restaurant on Manor Road at 6:30.
Not much else to report. David Mincberg is supposedly filing today, at least according to what I'd heard last week. I haven't heard anything further on that, however, so maybe it's not happening today after all. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: And a second challenger for Constable May Walker in Precinct 7 has filed, one Reuben Anderson.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 14, 2007 to Election 2008