Race for Harris County judge heats up

February 22, 2008 6:49:20 PM PST
With the primary just a week away, the race for Harris County judge is heating up. Republican candidate Charles Bacarisse has been trading accusations with incumbent Ed Emmett for months. When former County Judge Robert Eckels resigned last year, it set up a prime opportunity for a competitive race this year. Now the appointed judge is facing stiff competition in the March primary.

With a little more than a week to go before election day, Bacarisse is busy finishing up his first TV commercial, arguing that he's the more conservative choice than the current county judge.

"As county judge, when you run, you're going to have to run strongly and lead the rest of the Republican ticket and I'm the guy who has been working at the grass roots level of our party over the past 12 years," he said.

The former district clerk of Harris County, Bacarisse resigned from that job to run for county judge. But getting to commissioner's court is a tough fight. Appointed county Judge Ed Emmett is running to keep his job. The former state representative and transportation expert says he's better qualified.

"I've got private sector experience. He doesn't. I haven't been in county government my whole life, like he has. I'm new to county government, and at this point, where people want change, they want a new focus. I'm giving that to them," said Emmett.

While Bacarisse and Emmett battle it out for Republican nomination, the main Democratic candidate is already focusing on the November election.

"I try to stay out of their business," said candidate David Mincberg. "I look forward to debating whomever comes out of their primary, and talking about the real issues in front of the voters of Harris County."

Mincberg, a businessman, says his civic involvement as well as his law degree make him uniquely qualified for the job, though for now, he's happy to let Emmett and Bacarisse duke it out. One thing both Republicans agree on -- it's going to be a tough race this fall.

"I think clearly the Democrats are going to be more competitive in Harris County than they have been in the last decade," said Bacarisse.

Even though the big fight is in the Republican nomination, Mincberg also has an opponent in the Democratic primary. Businessman Ahmad Hassan says he stands for fair taxes and will work on improving county services.

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