Saturday, January 25, 2014

Defense's Opening Statement: Race for Bexar County DA

Bexar County District Attorney

Primary Outlook: Lean LaHood

General Election Outlook: Republican Favored

Bexar County DA.  Democrats have been trying to knock incumbent DA Susan Reed (R) out of this job for several elections.  Reed has held this post since her election in 1998 when she beat District Judge Mary Roman (D).  Reed won that year 57% - 43%.

4 years later Reed went unchallenged by Democrats.  In hindsight you have to scratch your head and wonder why?  Democrats won an open Republican district court bench and nearly swept the County Courts-at-Law benches winning 10 out of 12.  In addition, Democrats beat the incumbent District Clerk, who was the head of the Republican's 2002 campaign.

Fast forward another 4 years and Democrats did challenge, although not wholeheartedly.  Reed beat back a local attorney 61% - 39%.  This was the same year Democrats captured 4 district court benches.  Go figure.

Arriving at the year that shall not be named, Democrats gave Reed her toughest race to date.  Attorney Nico LaHood held Reed to her lowest margin yet 54% - 46%.

Who's Running?

Returning for a second try is attorney Nico LaHood.  Many Democrats remember him from his race in 2010 and his better than expected showing.  He has a background story that is a double-edged sword.  He was arrested for selling drugs back in 1994 and 2 years later his brother was murdered in his parent's driveway.  He's been a defendant and a victim.

Challenging LaHood in the primary is attorney Therese Huntzinger.  This is Huntzinger's second run for office, having previously challenged Judge Carmen Kelsey in 1998 as a Republican.  Huntzinger is openly gay and if she won would likely be thrust into the spotlight.  Her previous run-in with the law was a DWI in 1982.

Financial as of latest filing:
Huntzinger: Contributions: $27,110; Expenditures: $6,300.55; CoH: $17,777.94
LaHood: Contributions: $111,170; Expenditures: $11,467.39; CoH: $99,702.61

Huntzinger: Website, Facebook
LaHood: Facebook

Overall we give this primary race 3 peppers:

1) Race.  Unlike the primary for County Judge, this race hasn't produced any fireworks.  Still it is a countywide race for the top lawyer in the county which means it will make news.

2) Money.  LaHood clearly has the edge in money and if he wins the primary will definitely need it for the fall.

3) Endorsements.  How often do Spurs players get involved in politics?

Lahood's name ID combined with his money should be enough to carry him through the primary.  He also brings backing from some of the Spurs players including Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.  In addition he seems to have consolidated establishment support from people like State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Congressman Joaquin Castro.

Huntzinger did however score the endorsement of the Express-News.  If she can turn that endorsement into some campaign cash, she might have a chance to beat LaHood.  The other factor that is in her favor is newness.  She's the new face might be able to make the argument of not having lost to Susan Reed.  She might also get some cash infusion if the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund endorses her.

All things considered, if I had to choose, I'd say right now LaHood wins the primary.

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