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Another Travis County DA race?

When Ronnie Earle announced his retirement in 2007, it kicked off a spirited Democratic primary to replace him that was ultimately won by his chief lieutenant, Rosemary Lehmberg. It looks like we may have another such primary next year.

Former Judge Charlie Baird is eyeing the Travis County district attorney’s post.

In an interview Tuesday, the former District Court and Court of Criminal Appeals judge said he is seriously considering challenging District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in March’s Democratic primary.

Baird, 56, sounded very much like a candidate in laying out some changes he would make if elected, such as requiring every employee of the office to live in Travis County and abolishing the long-standing death penalty review committee that evaluates capital murder cases.

He noted that Lehmberg, who has been district attorney for 2½ years, has worked in the office since 1976.

He said if he runs, the question for voters would be: “Do you want to continue with the status quo, or do you think there are ways that the criminal justice system could be improved?”

Lehmberg, 62, said she is proud of her experience working in almost every part of the district attorney’s office. She also pointed to programs she has begun during her current term.

I don’t really have an opinion on this, I’m just curious. What do you Austinites think about the job Lehmberg has done? Does she deserve re-election, or would you rather see someone else – Baird, or a different person – challenge her in the primary? Thanks to its Public Integrity Unit, the Travis DA’s office is the most important in the state. What do y’all think about this?

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  1. Ginger says:

    I haven’t been paying that much attention to the DA’s office in particular, but I did go through jury selection last December in Baird’s court, and felt he was very upfront and easy to deal with as a potential juror. (I was not selected.) Non-political criminal cases don’t seem to get a lot of coverage here, which is something I’ve noticed since that trial: I was never able to find out how it came out or whether it was delayed. I’ll be watching this primary closely if it happens.

  2. zack says:

    I whole heatedly support judge Baird. He is a good man with ethics and morals and his “even-handed” justice. As a judge he was very confrontational to the DA office. he obviously sees how the DA’s office is severely deficient in many ways, and as a former judge, who better to clean up what is well known as a broken down system in travis county and austin