January 01, 2008
Rosenthal versus the Republicans

Chuck Rosenthal and the Harris County Republican Party keep on providing campaign material for CO Bradford.

In a brief telephone interview Monday, Rosenthal acknowledged he told local TV news programs earlier in the day that the local Republican Party had never done much for him in his 2000 and 2004 election campaigns and that party leaders have become "Chicken Littles," unjustifiably fearful the scandal will damage the entire Republican roster of candidates in the county.

Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill, a lawyer, said Rosenthal's remarks were a slap in the face to hundreds of Republican volunteers who go door-to-door in the hot summer weather dredging up votes for him and the rest of the GOP ticket.

"If Chuck Rosenthal believes he doesn't need the Republican Party then he should run as an independent," he said.

The Houston Area Pastor Council, an inter-racial and interdenominational group of about 150 ministers dedicated to articulating "Biblical positions on important moral issues from the pulpit to elected leaders," called on Rosenthal to resign as district attorney.

The GOP has not suggested he resign.

Regardless of the outcome of the 2008 election, Rosenthal's current term lasts until the end of the year.

"While Mr. Rosenthal has served the community capably as district attorney, his willingness to abuse the trust of his office, his failure to exercise good moral judgment, the lack of wisdom in using his government email for these messages -- knowing they are public record -- all add up to someone who has serious flaws in private and public character," the pastors said. "We sincerely hope that Mr. Rosenthal and his family find restoration through Jesus Christ and his church."

The group includes The Encourager Church, Kingwood Bible Church, Second Baptist Church of Pasadena and the Woodlands Christian Center, led by Woodfill's brother, Matt. Jared Woodfill said he had not discussed the Rosenthal case with his brother.

Former District Clerk Charles Bacarisse, a GOP candidate for county judge against Republican incumbent Ed Emmett, on Monday agreed with Emmett that Rosenthal should step aside.

"Mr. Rosenthal has lost the trust of the citizens and the party," Bacarisse wrote in a campaign e-mail.

More quotes for the future mailers. Once again, I hope the Bradford campaign is taking notes.

The Rs say they have themselves a challenger to Rosenthal:

[S]peculation about a possible opponent for him in the March 4 Republican primary focused on defense lawyer and former prosecutor Jim Leitner, who ran against Rosenthal in 2000.


Rosenthal said Sunday night that no one is qualified to run against him. Woodfill countered Monday that "several people are calling to express an interest (in running). We will have a candidate; it will be a qualified candidate."

Some assistant district attorneys and judges who were once prosecutors were said by the activists to have eyed the top job for years, but they are unlikely to challenge Rosenthal because he is their current or former boss.

Defense attorney Leitner was a Harris County prosecutor for a total of five years, interrupted by service from 1978 to 1982 as first assistant district attorney in Lampasas and Bell counties. He practices law with his wife, Michelle Smith Leitner, and has represented defendants in eight capital murder trials as well as dozens of other cases. Rosenthal was a prosecutor about 30 years before replacing the retiring John B. Holmes Jr. in the top job.

Isiah Carey has another possibility, District Judge Mike Fields. I've no idea how likely either of these may be. Leitner finished third in the multi-candidate primary of 2000, with 16.2% of the vote (Rosenthal had 45.3%). I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that either of these guys would need to raise a bunch of money quickly, in order to ensure that the voters knew who they are. As big a story as this has been, it's not enough to guarantee that the electorate is fully informed.

The rift here between Rosenthal and the party faithful looks pretty serious. It's going to be hard to walk back some of the things that have been said in the not-unlikely event Rosenthal survives the primary or fails to be challenged. I have no doubt there will be a widespread outbreak of selective amnesia if and when that happens, but these things have a way of lingering. I'm just saying, the GOP seems intent on taking a shot at Rosenthal. They better be sure of their ability to kill him. Whatever the case, I'm enjoying the spectacle.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 01, 2008 to Election 2008

I have Faith that the preachers prayed on this with their girlfriends before they went public

Posted by: Charles Hixon on January 1, 2008 9:46 PM