A former Harris County prosecutor, Sean Teare, who left the district attorney’s office in February is running to unseat his longtime boss, District Attorney Kim Ogg in the Democratic primary, depicting her tenure as one riddled with mistakes.
Teare, who for years led Ogg’s vehicular crimes division and resigned, rebuking her office, and filed election paperwork this month. He plans to outline details of his candidacy Wednesday at a formal kickoff.
Ogg’s campaign representative is expected to comment soon about her new Democratic challenger.
During a wide-ranging interview Monday, Teare challenged an array of Ogg’s prosecutorial decisions, saying the DA proceeds on too many cases without taking a precautionary look at the evidence. One example he cited: the misdemeanor charge Ogg pursued against a Houston doctor accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccines, whom a grand jury later declined to indict.
“That man was doing everything he could in order to provide lifesaving care in an unprecedented pandemic,” Teare said. “Instead of stepping back and getting the full set of facts before charging in, (Ogg) ruined this man’s career for doing exactly what we asked him to do.”
A discrimination complaint against Harris County brought by the doctor, Hasan Gokal, is pending in a civil court.
Teare also critiqued the internal workings of Ogg’s office, describing a number of unfilled jobs and a high level of turnover as prosecutors have left the office for better opportunities. Teare says training and mentoring of early-career prosecutors could help lawyers reduce the backlog of cases to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels, he said. He said he’d aim to improve dismissal rates and reduce the number of acquittals in serious offenses.
Teare was explicit in his concerns about Ogg’s leadership.
“She cannot keep anyone working there long enough to get them trained and competent,” Teare said. “We have hemorrhaged prosecutors, many of them to lower paying district attorney’s offices. They’re taking less money to still do the job. They just don’t want to do it for her.”
Wednesday is today, and there’s a Facebook event for the kickoff. You can see a video here and a press release here. Ogg survived a trio of challengers in 2020, and I think it’s fair to say that she has not gotten more popular among the Democratic base. I’m going to reserve my thoughts for now, but it’s interesting to see the primary season get this early a start. We’ll see if anyone else jumps in.