When the smoke cleared, women emerged as the top two republican candidates vying to replace Chuck Rosenthal.
“Alright, let’s hear it for Kelly Siegler!”
Kelly Siegler, a 21-year prosecutor in Harris County, was welcomed by a boisterous crowd that almost left her speechless:
“Man, I’m psyched…uh, 50 days ago, we didn’t know what the heck we were doing…all these people did all this work…walking and knocking and writing and e-mailing. Thanks to all them, it turned out great today.”
The only candidate working for the DA’s office, Siegler is on leave for the campaign:
“I want to say to the voters that the DA’s job is not a political job, that the person who runs that office is the person in charge of all these prosecutors and police officers and making sure that criminals get convicted. And who do you want running that office? Do you want someone running that office who’s never prosecuted a case or do you want someone like me? You need to think about that when you vote.”
On the other side of town were supporters of Pat Lykos:
“I’m very excited. How can you NOT be excited when you see all these wonderful people from Harris County who are supporting me. I mean, look at them! They’re just, they’re extraordinary. They’re community leaders who are people who care and that’s why I’m running.”
Lykos, who lost to Rosenthal in the last election, says things are different now:
“There’s no ‘I’ in it. It’s everybody behind me. I owe them a debt that I could never repay and they’re on a mission and they want me to transform that office into the best in the nation. They want me to restore public trust and confidence in the District Attorney’s Office and that’s why I’m here and that’s why they’re here.”
Watching the runoff transpire, Democratic candidate and former Houston Police Chief Clarence Bradford:
“We have a strategy in place and we’re going to continue to play by the strategy that we have outlined. Now, certainly there are some room for modification based on who the specific opponent is. But, nonethless from my standpoint it doesn’t matter which one of the opponents on the other side prevail. We are ready to move forward with our strategy and I will focus on what I bring to the table, what I can offer the voters of Houston and Harris County as a community. I think the DA has to use the authority of the office to make neighborhoods safer, to improve the quality of life.”
Meanwhile, both Siegler and Lykos are confident that they will face Bradford in November:
“He doesn’t have the experience that I have…and his major contribution is the crime lab scandal and we’re fixing to turn that around. We’re going to have a regional crime lab.” (applause)
“I think that I’m the one that can beat him. I think I have the strongest position and he’s most afraid of running against me…and he should be.”
The run-off election takes place April 8th.
Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News.