Fallout from Rosenthal emails

January 8, 2008 8:21:04 PM PST
An Eyewitness News exclusive: Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal says he wants to run for a third term. But now, he may not get that chance. We've learned the Republican party is shopping for a new candidate. As we first reported Thursday, Rosenthal, who's married, sent emails to his administrative assistant from his county email account, saying he loved her and wanted to kiss her.

Rosenthal says dirty politics are behind the release of the emails and now, as the Democrats pounce, Republicans seem to be distancing themselves from Rosenthal.

On Friday, Chuck Rosenthal said he's sorry for the pain he's caused others. Still, Friday afternoon a leading Republican maintains Rosenthal can't apologize his way out of this one and it's time for another name on the ticket.

After two terms in office, it looks like Rosenthal has yet another challenge on his hands, if not by the voters, by his own party.

"What has happened, he has hurt the ticket," said Former Chair of the Republican party Gary Polland.

Just one day after the release of scandalous emails to and from his executive assistant -- like one that read, "The very next time I see you, I want to kiss you behind your right ear" -- Rosenthal has apologized, but is steadfast in his quest for reelection telling Eyewitness News, "I have filed and am determined to win, not for me, but for the great people who make up this office."

While Rosenthal soldiers on, the Republican party is shopping for candidates.

"I have been called by Republican leaders and implored to run for district attorney, but that's not something I'd really ever want to do," said Polland.

Polland is the former chairman of the Harris County Republican party. He says the upcoming race was already going to be contentious. The embarrassing emails just add fuel to the fire. We have learned Republican leaders are courting other candidates, as well. As it stands now, Polland says the Democrats have the advantage.

"His personal issues, in my opinion, should not be allowed to hamper and hurt the entire Republican ticket in the county for 2008 and that's my concern at this point," said Polland.

The pressure is on for everyone. The deadline to file for the primary is only five days away. Polland says Rosenthal should, in his words, 'do what's best for the entire ticket -- finish his term and retire.' Meanwhile, Democrats are calling for an independent investigation and whoever runs will face former HPD police Chief Clarence Bradford.