Former Judge Eckels talks about Rosenthal

December 28, 2007 9:17:15 PM PST
Chuck Rosenthal has been the Harris County District Attorney for almost seven years and he wants a third term, but it may not be up to him much longer. Some Republican leaders are now questioning whether he can win the ticket.

Within the Republican Party there is a broad spectrum of reaction. On the one hand some are calling for Chuck Rosenthal to step down, while others think he'll weather the storm.

The release of dozens of intimate emails between Rosenthal and his secretary Kerry Stevens is still sending shockwaves through the Harris County Republican Community.

"I think it's surprised a lot of folks, and it reminds us that everyone has issues in their life," former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels told us.

Eckels says he still supports Rosenthal and believes the DA can weather the political fallout, but with revealing emails like "I always want to see you. You own my heart whether you want or not," others in the Republican Party are calling for a change.

"I think it's clear the Republican ticket is looking for another candidate to run in this race and would hope that Chuck would do what's best for the entire ticket and decide to finish his term and retire," said Former Chair of the Republican party Gary Polland.

Besides Polland, so far, no one else in the Republican ranks is willing to call for Rosenthal's resignation. However, Harris County Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt did admit on the radio that party leaders are discussing the next logical step.

For his part, Rosenthal says he has "filed and am determined to win, not for me, but for the great people who make up this office." With the filing deadline fast approaching, the former county judge says it would be difficult, but not impossible for another Republican to jump in on the race. (SEE FULL STATEMENT)

"It's a long time between now and January 2nd," Eckels said. "It's not much time, but it's enough for someone if they want to, but I've heard of no one, and there's been a lot of people calling around scrambling."

Former Judge Eckels and current County Judge Emmett are both supporting Rosenthal. Privately though, a number of others within the Republican Party are concerned that having Rosenthal on the ballot could damage other Republican candidates in Harris County.

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