Eight Republicans vying for Harris County sheriff post

May 17, 2012 5:04:14 PM PDT
It's your voice your vote, and when it comes to the Harris County sheriff, Republicans have a wide field to choose from. Eight candidates are vying to challenge sitting Sheriff Adrian Garcia, and as Election Day draws near, campaigns are heating up.

A lot of people want a shot at going head-to-head against Sheriff Adrian Garcia this fall. But with eight Republicans hoping to make it to a runoff, standing out is difficult and the fight has been nasty.

Carl Pittman says he's the Republican front-runner for Harris County sheriff.

"I think I have great temperament to be sheriff," he said.

Louis Guthrie says he is, and so does retired federal marshal Ruben Monzon.

"I've been involved in law enforcement for over 30 years, 20 of those has been a law enforcement manager and I know what it's like run an organization such as one I'm seeking," Monzon said.

But perceived front-runners can also attract controversy. A website has popped up against Guthrie, listing his disciplinary history with the sheriff's department. But Guthrie says a judge has recently vindicated him.

"I think I've got the perfect temperament. I'm going to be the kind of sheriff that doesn't back down. When people are right, you need to stand behind them; when they're wrong, you need to do what's necessary," Guthrie said.

As for Pittman, a report of an internal investigation over his alleged assault on his wife has been making the rounds. Pittman's wife even has a YouTube video up defending her husband.

"Unfortunately people will take information and throw it out of context, it's not true, I never did that," Pittman said.

Add to that three other candidates: Guy Clark, Paul Day, and Brian Steinocher, who are all either current or former law enforcement officials. They all say they'll lower the budget and keep residents safe.

No matter who comes out ahead on the Republican side, our political expert says that person will have a hard time against the Democratic incumbent.

"Whoever wins the runoff only has 90 days to run against the incumbent sheriff who got more votes than anybody in the county in 2008," KTRK political analyst Dr. Richard Murray said.

Then there are two other candidates with more unusual backgrounds. Harold Hueszel is a dentist, and Daniel Lemkuil is a lawyer. Together, a field of eight hoping to make an impact with voters on Primary Day.

Because there are eight candidates, it's unlikely anyone will get 50 percent for a win. The top two finishers will go into a runoff on July 31st. The winner of that is expected to face Sheriff Garcia in the fall.

--- See Texas primary election information for Harris County, surrounding counties

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