Whoah. I did not see this coming.
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt has resigned, effective Dec. 10.
Bettencourt, who was elected to his third term last month, turned in a letter of resignation to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Thursday, Emmett spokesman Joe Stinebaker said later Friday.
He said Bettencourt was leaving to take a job in the private sector, but was unable to elaborate.
I presume his replacement will be chosen by Commissioners Court. Which leads to a question: Do you think he'd have resigned if David Mincberg had been elected County Judge, which would have meant a Democratic majority on the Court and thus (presumably) a Democratic replacement? Actually, come to think of it, he might have done the same thing, in hopes of getting someone named to take over before Mincberg got sworn in. Boy, there's a hypothetical for you.
Well, one more office for the Dems to try to win in 2010. I can't say that prospect makes me unhappy.
UPDATE: Here's his statement, from Miya:
"I have spoken with Judge Emmett and told him of my intention to tender my resignation before Christmas. I want to give the Court time to address the vacancy and ensure an orderly transition," Bettencourt said.
"Over the Thanksgiving holiday I have received an offer of a private business venture that I intend to pursue.
"I want to thank the good people of Harris County for allowing me the opportunity to serve. It has been an honor and a privilege.
"We have accomplished a great deal in the office, ushering in an era of smart government - a focus on customer service and technology," Bettencourt concluded.
A full statement will be issued next week.