The Statesman has an overview of the two Democrats running for CD10.
They may share the same goal and many of the same policy positions, but there are some pretty clear differences between the two Democrats who want to take on U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, in the November election.
Lawyer Larry Joe Doherty speaks with a folksy frankness that helped propel him to a starring role in a television courtroom series. "I've never had as much fun with all my clothes on," Doherty, 61, said about his TV gig, "Texas Justice," which ran locally on Fox.
Such a line is unlikely to come from Dan Grant, a somewhat cerebral 33-year-old who attended the London School of Economics and has spent much of his adult life working on elections and other development projects in war-torn countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Serious times call for serious candidates," Grant said.
The prize in their March 4 primary fight is the chance to challenge McCaul, 46, in a district that stretches east from Travis County along U.S. 290 to the western end of Houston. The district includes parts of West and North Austin, as well as Pflugerville and Manor. In 2006, as Democrats were capturing enough seats across the country to take control of Congress, McCaul comfortably won re-election over Ted Ankrum, a Democrat who raised virtually no money.
Doherty built a Houston law practice focused largely on legal malpractice cases -- representing clients who thought they got raw deals from other lawyers. Around 2000, when Doherty had just moved to Washington County near the center of what would later become McCaul's district, a friend told him that producers were looking for a judge or lawyer to star in a new reality series.
He beat about two dozen others to win the part, and the show eventually aired nationally. Producers plucked cases from court dockets all over the country, and Doherty presided over court proceedings that functioned, in effect, as arbitration hearings. The role even landed him a cameo on Anna Nicole Smith's reality show.
"With the last ounce of good sense that some of these people had, they went to small claims court rather than try to take the law into their own hands and get revenge," Doherty said. "And we ought to encourage that. We ought to make more civil courtrooms available for that."
Grant, who attended McCallum High School, moved back to Austin last year from Iraq. There, and earlier in Afghanistan, he worked for nonprofit groups that the U.S. State Department hired to help with development efforts. Those included working on the constitutional convention in Afghanistan and helping conduct the 2005 elections in Iraq.
In Iraq, he was helping a country in the aftermath of a war that he had misgivings about.
"I went there to help organize the elections, and the elections themselves were a technical success," Grant said. "But there was not interest on the part of the Bush administration to actually exercise any follow-through."