Chron profiles both County Judge candidates

Good story on Lina Hidalgo.

Lina Hidalgo

First-time candidate Lina Hidalgo hopes Harris County voters frustrated with what she says is poor leadership on flood control and criminal justice reform will help her defeat longtime County Judge Ed Emmett.

Hidalgo, 27, is the Democratic nominee for the county’s top executive position. She is one of a record number of Hispanic candidates in Harris County this year, and would be the first woman and Latina county judge. Democrats are betting high turnout among their voters, which helped defeat a Republican sheriff and district attorney in 2016, will overcome Emmett’s broad popularity with residents.

“What I have is the moral compass to ensure we are putting the community’s interests ahead of the next election,” Hidalgo said in an interview at her Galleria campaign headquarters.

Even in a year where Democrats are motivated by a viable Senate candidate and united in anger against an unpopular president, Hidalgo faces a tough task. She is running against possibly the most popular local figure who did not win the World Series last year. Though Emmett has more experience, is far more well known and has raised more money than Hidalgo, election researchers say she has a path to victory if too many Democrats forget to vote for him.

Hidalgo’s background is similar to those of the one-quarter of Harris County residents who are immigrants. She was born in Colombia in 1991, during that country’s war with drug cartels, and moved with her parents and younger brother first to Mexico, and then to Houston in 2005. She graduated from Seven Lakes High School in Katy ISD in 2009, and earned a political science degree from Stanford University four years later.

She enrolled in 2015 in a joint master’s program at Harvard University and law program at New York University. As part of her studies she has interned with the public defender’s office in New Orleans and an inmate mental health project in New York City. Back in Houston, she spent two summers at Ben Taub Hospital translating for Spanish-speaking patients.

Putsata Reang, her supervisor during a research project in Thailand studying free speech rights in Southeast Asian countries, described her as a hard worker eager to take initiative.

“She’s like this incredible force where we were getting 10 employees out of one because of the sheer workload she could handle,” Reang said.

Go read the rest, then take a look at the companion piece on Judge Emmett.

Judge Ed Emmett

If there is a nightmare keeping Harris County Judge Ed Emmett awake at night, it may go like this: It starts months before November, when Democrats tell pollsters they, of course, will vote for Emmett, even though he’s a Republican. They like how he led the county during Hurricane Harvey, and the storms before that, stretching back to Ike a decade ago.

Election Day arrives. A surge of Democrats turn out, motivated by anger with Republicans at the top of the ticket and President Donald Trump, who is absent from the ballot. They have no quarrel with Emmett. But the lines are long, the ballot is long, and the county judge’s race is below dozens of state and federal contests.

At the top of the ballot, however, voters can select the straight ticket of their party with one button. Democrats pick theirs, and leave. And Emmett loses to a 27-year-old who never has held political office.

That is the scenario, in the last Texas election with straight-ticket voting, election researchers say could sweep Emmett out of office. Though Emmett is likely to win a third full term, they said in an election in which Republican voters likely will be a minority, the judge should be reminding Democrats to buck their party and stick with him.

“It’s all about Democrats voting for Ed,” said Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University. “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, however remote or odd it sounds, that Democrats never remember to.”


Stein said his research shows Emmett winning re-election, but with only around 55 percent of the vote — despite being viewed positively by 70 to 80 percent of the electorate. University of Houston political science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus said Emmett, though popular, could become collateral damage in a backlash against the Republican Party.

“The wave may very well drown a moderate Republican,” he said. “That’s true for Emmett and, potentially, for State Rep. Sarah Davis.”

You should read the rest of this one as well, but let me push back a little on the math here. In 2014, the undervote rate in the dozens of contested judicial elections was consistently right around four percent. That amounted to roughly 30,000 votes in each of those races, and in every case that total number of non-votes was smaller than the margin of victory, in race where the victorious Republican candidate mostly drew between 53 and 55 percent. Going farther down the ballot, in the non-judicial countywide contests that appeared after Emmett, the undervote in the races for District Clerk was 4.09%, for County Clerk was 3.90%, and for County Treasurer was 3.46%. I feel like if people remembered to vote for Stan Stanart and Orlando Sanchez, they’d probably not forget to vote for Ed Emmett.

As for the estimated share of the vote Emmett might get, we can’t really look at 2014 because he didn’t have a Democratic opponent. In 2010, when most Republican judicial candidates were getting between 55 and 57 percent of the vote, Emmett received 60.6%, so he ran between four and six points better than his partymates. I think 55 is on the high end of the spectrum for Emmett this year, but it’s plausible. The real question I have is, what do you think the baseline percentage for Republicans elsewhere will be? I fully expect Emmett to exceed the baseline, as he has done in the past, but he can’t completely defy gravity. He’s going to need the Republican base vote to be there as well, and if it isn’t then he’ll be in trouble.

My interview with Lina Hidalgo is here if you haven’t already listened to it. I think we can all acknowledge that Ed Emmett has been a good County Judge while at the same time recognizing that there are things we could be doing differently, priorities we could choose to elevate or diminish, and causes we could support or oppose with more vigor. Campos has more.

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27 Responses to Chron profiles both County Judge candidates

  1. Ross says:

    Hidalgo lacks the experience to be County Judge. In 10 years, she might be up to the task. Every young manager I’ve ever seen has made stupid mistakes related to a lack of experience and the wisdom that comes with age.

  2. Manny Barrera says:

    Thank you Ross that is why I voted for Hillary, I am sure you did the same since she had much more experience that the person that occupies the White House.

    Ross experience is not the reason you are voting against her, at least be honest with yourself.

    Emmett has failed as County Judge, the flood control district has been negligent and he did not care one or another until Harvey.


  3. Ross says:

    Manny, I am going to assume that you are implying that I am not voting for Hidalgo because she is Hispanic. Listen carefully you moronic asshole. I am not voting for Hidalgo because of her lack of experience. If I was racist as you imply, I would not be married to a Hispanic woman, and wouldn’t love her family and culture as well. So, take your implied racism shtick and cram it up your ass.

    BTW, I didn’t vote for Hilary because she’s an idiot. I didn’t vote for Trump either. Neither were qualified for the job.

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Why would you assume that Ross, I like your name calling, I was wondering when it would come out.

    So Ross, am I to assume you always vote for the incumbent? I already know that answer, it is no.

    I knew you were married to a Hispanic, you often defend them, especially against Bill. But using the lack of experience is not the reason, there are others and experience is only factor otherwise you would go with experience.

    As to Hillary not being qualified, that is flat out wrong. Maybe you just don’t think women should not have that much authority? I don’t know, have a great day.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Ross read my original statement, I didn’t say you voted for Trump. I said Hillary was much more qualified than the person in the White House.

    There is nothing I can write that will make you support her, I realize that. But using experience as an excuse is not valid, that would mean that we should always support the incumbent. I guess, I will vote for Cruz he has more experience as a Senator than Beto.

  6. Gary D says:

    I did not interpret Manny’s comment as implying you were racist but thinking you were a Republican.
    Moderates and Independents may think Emmett is the best Republican on the ballot this year but will that be enough? I think his efforts on flood control were a failure and he came up with no good plan for the Astrodome and he is simply a way for some to virtue signal they are bipartisan. I think he may be defeated in a close race, drowned in a Blue Wave, and some will use his defeat to justify the political decision to eliminate straight-ticket one button voting.

  7. Manny Barrera says:

    Oh Ross, I don’t deny being an asshole, but I am not a moron. But I have good company the most famous asshole, being Socrates, not I am as smart as he was.

  8. C.L. says:

    Manny, you’ve officially devolved into troll status.

  9. Manny Barrera says:

    Coming from you C.L. that is an honor, now if you start reading books and enlarging your interests we can both be trolls.

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    Thanks Gary, I really don’t have a party, but I am now a Democrat and will continue to be such until Trump is gone and the Republicans start acting like decent human beings.

    I just wonder about people that use one criteria for judging people and voting to put them in position of power.

    The Republicans are not healthy for this country the way they are presently behaving.

  11. Manny Barrera says:

    Take C.L. he won’t vote for Adrian Garcia, because he does not like his hair.

  12. The only reason Jack Morman won in 2010 was because he rode the tea party wave.

    Not because he had any real ideas for working families or county employees.

    Any experience that Lina supposedly lacks will be made up by 4 others on the commissioners court as well as county employees.

    Emmett has refused, sued or dragged his feet on major issues like… bail reform, pre k, online voter registration, paid parental leave, flood reform, childcare subsidies, etc.

  13. C.L. says:

    @Manny. Fear not brother, I wouldn’t vote for you, either… probably because I choose not to vote for self-professed assholes.

  14. Jason Hochman says:

    Emmett should be forced to work for the county for life, in order to pay back the taxpayers for his jury building downtown that costed $36 million and lasted 5, maybe 6 years. And he was hailed as a genius for this building.

    There are not many Democrats motivated by anger toward Trump. Most of them were thrilled at the extra pittance added to their paychecks by his tax cut.

  15. Manny Barrera says:

    Thanks Jason I had forgotten about that fiasco.

    C.L. the only difference between me and many people that you have voted for is that I admit to being some one that will question people’s reasoning.

    I did give what Gary said above, and he is correct that is one of the things that I want to determine what do people who post here believe in.

    Most people who voted Republicans voted strictly for the R in front of the person. Up till lately the Yellow Dog Democrat had quit existing, but it is coming back because the country needs a party that cares about the working people.

  16. C.L. says:

    @Manny… who exactly are the many people I’ve voted for ? Been voting since the early ’80s and have lived in multiple States since, so if you can provide me a list of individuals I’ve cast my ballot for since that time, I’d really appreciate it. I’d be interested in who, over the years, I’ve opted to support. If you could provide that to me, in either a .pdf or .xlsx format, that’d be great. Thanking you in advance.

  17. Manny Barrera says: are being Trump like, you know who you voted for and you would know if they are anal openings. By Trump, I mean ignorant.

    But if you mean you have never voted for an anal opening put up your list and I will through them one by one.

    You did state you would not vote for Adrian Garcia because you did not like his hair. That is a fact.

  18. C.L. says:

    @Manny… You’ve turned into the internet troll you’ve always loathed. #Sad.

  19. Manny Barrera says:

    C.L. reflect on what you write, insults don’t bother me, it just means you are thinking about me. Bye this is the last comment you will see from me on this topic.

    But I am sure that you will rear your ugly head again for no reason only to remind me that you are still thinking about me.

    Have a great day.

  20. C.L. says:

    @Manny Now you’ve turned in POTUS. Perfect.

  21. Bill Daniels says:

    Hey Manny and C.L.:

    While you guys are bickering and infighting, Trump is doing more winning for America! Today it’s ending the US Post Office’s subsidizing of Chinese imports. You keep running down baby orange man bad, and each day, he keeps fighting to put America, and Americans first. To put YOU first, even though you hate him.

    This is just like fixing our horrific trade deals……not sexy, but the real work we elect politicians to do. And after all these years of everyone agreeing things need to change, but no one doing anything, real change has come.

    On the rare occasions Obama and Bush actually did something good for America, I gave them the respect of acknowledging what they did.

  22. Bill Daniels says:

    More winning:

    I’ll let Manny explain how cutting Russia out of natural gas sales to Europe, helping the US trade deficit and the US oil and gas industry proves that Trump is a Russian puppet.

  23. Bill Daniels says:

    ….and just for something fun, here’s video of that spontaneous, totally NOT orchestrated ‘caravan’ of Honduran ‘migrants’ being paid for their participation in their US-or-Bust slow walk invasion of the US. Hmmm, who would be paying these people to storm the US border right before the mid term elections?

    And you thought Paxton was dirty…..

  24. C.L. says:

    @Bill… hold on with the Congresman’s footage. I don’t see anyone getting on a bus, footage could be from Costa Rica or Peru, and could have been shot yesterday or eight years ago. What makes you think it had anything to do with the caravan in question ?

  25. C.L. says:

    So much winning. Can’t wait for the GOP to gut Social Security and Medicare. That’ll finally put to rest those nasty, nasty rumors that they’re not for the little guy !

    What better person to lead this Country going forward than a narcissistic tax cheat who cheats on his wife with a porn star ! Can’t get any more American than that !

  26. Bill Daniels says:


    Where are you getting that “gut SS and Med.” from? Certainly not from Trump. Trump is actively saving your Marxist programs, by getting people back to work, in good paying, on the books jobs, so they can pay the SS and Med. tax, thus shoring up those two commie institutions in America.

    I mean, when right wingers trot out the “they’re coming for your guns” boogieman, at least we can point to multiple progressives, like Claire McCaskill, who actually ARE coming for our guns. Who on Team Trump has said they want to gut SS and Medicare?

    There are two Project Veritas videos on McCaskill, if you’re interested in seeing what lurks under that “moderate Dem” persona.

  27. C.L. says:

    C’mon Bill, you’re more learned than that. In yesterday’s Newsweek: “After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    “It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said of the deficit, which grew 17 percent to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018. McConnell explained to Bloomberg that “it’s a bipartisan problem: Unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.” The deficit has increased 77 percent since McConnell became majority leader in 2015.”

    But you were spoofing me, weren’t you…you sly dog.

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