The Chron takes a look at the Sheriff's race, and I think we all agree on the matter of what it's all about.
Both candidates for Harris County sheriff focus on the current sheriff's record.
A challenge for Republican incumbent Tommy Thomas may be that this has been the most troublesome year for the sheriff's department under his watch. While the presidential campaign centers on change and reform, Thomas is asking to add four more years to his tenure of 14 years.
Democrat Adrian Garcia, a Houston councilman and former police officer, said sheriff's department controversies -- including a spate of jail inmate deaths that triggered a pending U.S. Department of Justice investigation -- show Thomas has performed poorly. Garcia also touts his record as mayor pro tem and chairman of the council's public safety committee as well as being a former lawman.
But even when Democrats did well on the Harris County ballot more than a decade ago, Democratic Houston council members had a tough time in countywide elections as they sought support from hundreds of thousands of voters who live outside the city limits, where neighborhoods trend politically conservative.
Regardless, Thomas said, the Nov. 4 contest is about which candidate has the best experience for running a sprawling law enforcement agency that employs 4,000 people and spends an average of $1 million a day. Garcia, he said, can't come close to the qualification.
"My tenure speaks for itself," the sheriff said. "It's not something you can just walk into."
Thomas has raised much more campaign money than Garcia and plans to plow much of it into TV ads and billboards in the next few weeks. But, he said, the fate of his campaign may lie in the turnout for the Obama and McCain tickets.
"I think we will be a victim to the top of the ticket," he said.
Garcia, who would be the county's first Hispanic sheriff, said otherwise. "The sheriff's race is in the forefront of the public's mind by virtue of the sheriff's performance," he said. "I think they are completely disappointed."