Rosenthal won't run, but who will?

January 2, 2008 8:02:20 PM PST
We learned Wednesday night that Chuck Rosenthal has decided not to run for re-election as Harris County district attorney. But who the Republicans will back to run in his place is still uncertain. The party made that announcement just before the 6pm deadline for candidates to file. The Republicans had been talking to many candidates to determine who they'll endorse. But they announced Wednesday that they're not going to endorse any candidate, so the race could be wide open.

Jim Leitner, who Harris County Republicans did speak with, has filed for candidacy and will run for Harris County district attorney. Leither is in private practice and is a former Harris County assistant district attorney. However, more names could be on the ballot. Because Rosenthal took his name off, candidates have an additional 48 hours to file, meaning the new deadline is Friday at 6pm.

Eyewitness News has also learned from sources inside the district attorney's office that assistant DA Kelly Siegler has agreed to at least consider running.

The search for a replacement candidate began when romantic emails between Rosenthal and his executive secretary came to light. The romantic emails were first released and posted online on a federal record service just before Christmas. The emails on county computer equipment were between Rosenthal, who is married, and longtime assistant Kerry Stevens.

Then on Friday December 28, a judge re-sealed the emails. Rosenthal apologized, saying he deeply regretted saying those things.

On Sunday, December 30, Eyewitness News was the first to tell you about emergency meeting held by Republican leaders. They voted to ask Rosenthal to remove his name from the ballot. Rosenthal refused.

This past Monday, the Houston Area Pastor Council and several others called on Rosenthal to resign.

On Tuesday, more public officials backed off from supporting Rosenthal. The Republican Party began interviewing potential candidates.