Who would replace Chuck Rosenthal?

December 31, 2007 5:09:42 PM PST
There are new calls for the Harris County district attorney to resign. The debate is over romantic emails Chuck Rosenthal sent on the job to his assistant, who is not his wife. The deadline is fast approaching for names to be put on the ballot. And the Republican Party is wasting no time lining up candidates.

Some top Republican leaders are calling for Rosenthal's resignation. And the Houston Area Pastor's Council is following suit, asking for the DA to step down. The council is an inter-denomination, inter-racial group of clergy.

Now that the Republican party has crossed Rosenthal off their list, they are looking for a new candidate for DA to endorse.

Republican party Chairman Jarrod Woodfill says there has been a lot of interest from Republicans in a potential run for top prosecutor in Harris County. While Woodfill won't talk about specific candidates, he says they have a strong list of potentials. Among the names being discussed are:

    Judge Mike Fields
    County Criminal Court 14 since 1998
    Presides over one of fifteen county criminal courts at law with countywide jurisdiction over serious misdemeanor cases like driving while intoxicated and domestic violence.

    Judge Vanessa Velasquez
    183rd Criminal Court judge since 2005
    Former Harris County Assistant DA

    Judge Brock Thomas
    338th Criminal Court Judge since 2002
    Former Harris County Assistant DA from 1993 to 2002
    Son of Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas

    Judge Mike Anderson
    262nd Criminal Court Judge since 1998
    Seven years in the DA's office
    Chief felony prosecutor in the organized crime division from 1986 to 1999

    Jim Leitner
    Private practice
    Former Harris County Assistant DA

"We have four to five who say they will run if Chuck is on the ballot," said Woodfill. "There's another group that says they will run if he decides to resign."

"Most elections boil down to one of two themes, either continuity or change," said KTRK political analyst Peter Roussel. "Right now, change is in the air. The question is for the Republicans -- what kind of change and who is going to be that agent of change?"

This is by no means a complete list. Many more candidates are being discussed. The Republican Party advisory board is expected to meet at least one more time in person or by phone.