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Emmett says he will run for re-election in 2018

Well, this was unexpected.

Judge Ed Emmett

Judge Ed Emmett

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said Thursday that he plans to seek re-election when his current term is up in 2018, ending speculation that he might step aside after more than a decade at the helm of the nation’s third most-populous county.

Emmett, a Republican known for his pragmatic, steady approach, said he made the decision Wednesday night after conferring with family and friends.

“I’m in kind of a unique position to bring people together at a time when it’s needed more than any other,” the 67-year-old Emmett said. “Harris County is a big, diverse place with lots of problems. Those problems don’t have simple answers.”


Emmett’s current term expires Dec. 31, 2018.

He said part of the reason he announced his intention to run Thursday was because the March 2018 primary is less than 18 months away and campaigns would likely get underway soon.

“I’ve got some money in the bank,” Emmett said. “But if I’m going to run, I need to make it clear so that those people who support me can get behind me.”

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker said Friday that she had been considering a bid for the judgeship, but would not do so given that Emmett is seeking re-election.

“If he’s not there,” Parker said, “I’m going to be first in line.”

As is the way of all things these days, Emmett made his intentions known via Twitter. Judge Emmett himself told me he was planning to retire after his current term was up. He said that to me after an interview I did with him, saying something to the effect of “there are things you can do in your 70s that you can’t easily do in your 80s”. That was a comment made in passing, not a carved-in-stone promise, and clearly his thinking has changed. Or maybe he just likes the job too much to want to quit. Whatever the case, barring anything unusual there will not be a vacancy in this office in two years.

That obviously complicates things for Democrats who are thinking about the next election, as can be seen by Annise Parker’s comment. Judge Emmett is well-regarded and probably the most popular politician in the county. He was the top vote-getter in 2010, he ran unopposed in 2014, and was re-elected easily in 2008 despite the strong Democratic wave that year. I suspect that despite all this someone will run against him in 2018 anyway, as there are legitimate policy matters that deserve debate, and only so many opportunities available for a person of ambition. We’ll see how it goes.

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  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Other than trying to save the Astrodome, Emmett has been a pretty OK and scandal free administrator. I don’t live in Harris County, but would probably vote for him if I did.

  2. Brad says:

    Chatbot Joe, just go away.

  3. I haven’t been impressed with houston city council. They’re too lazy to put together any basic policy ideas on a website.

    Case in point… the 4 lawyers on city council.

    I thought FosterQuan was boring, but FML the lawyers on city council have no ideas.

    Would a democratic county judge really make a difference?
    I doubt it.
    It would probably be some city council wanker that decided to run and had no ideas while on city council i.e. Gordon Quan.

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    Any thoughts on Ed Emmett or the merits of recruiting a Dem challenger for his office….you know, the topic at hand?

  5. Houston democrats are too lazy to put together real policy ideas for city council or county court.

    such as…

    Pool got so many votes as county commissioner was because of straight ticket voting, not because of her policy ideas.

    Amanda Edwards is on city council is because she is young and beautiful. The reason she beat Roy Morales is because no one wants a Helena Brown 2.0 on city council again. Not because of any policy ideas Edwards proposed.

    Lane Lewis, how many more times is he going to run for city council and lead the harris county democrats until he figures out he has to put policy ideas together?

    If a democratic candidate can’t put together at least 20 pages of policy ideas with multiple solutions for county judge in 2018. What’s the point in running?

    I’d rather move to DC than waste another year babysitting nonprofit ceo’s and politicians with ideas i googled. If you can’t figure out some form of paid parental leave then resign or hire smarter employees.