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Fort Bend County Voters Make Historic Changes To County Seats

Brian Middleton is the first black district attorney the county has elected, and the first Democrat to fill the critical position in 26 years.



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The blue wave that took over Harris County on Tuesday also hit neighboring Fort Bend County, where voters made historic demographic changes to county seats.

For the first-time ever, Fort Bend County voters elected a black district attorney. Brian Middleton, who succeeds Republican John Healey, is also the first Democrat to fill the position in 26 years.

The historically right-leaning county also elected a Democrat as county judge. KP George is the first South Asian county judge in the state of Texas, and will unseat 15-year-incumbent Republican Robert Herbert in the position.

Shapnik Khan,Vice Chair of the Fort Bend Democratic Party, attributes these historic wins to voters of color.

"It's the minorities like us," he said. "The Asian-Americans, the Hispanics, the African-Americans, it's a combination of the different ethnicities. They're moving in, and not only moving in, but getting involved."

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a lecturer at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, said she thinks Texan voters are tired of being at a partisan extreme.

"Even Republican folks are saying, you know, we need to bring it back to the middle a little bit more," DeFrancesco Soto said. "We saw that in the ballot boxes this time around, where folks said, ‘Okay, we've been at this extreme for a while and it's sputtering, you know, we're not really seeing any compromise. We need to change things.'"

Khan predicts that in the future, Fort Bend County will only continue to move left.

"We have many judicial candidates, they won. That gives us a hope," he said. "I think this is just the beginning. It's coming soon, 2020, and we will take more countywide seats."

In 2014, 58 percent of Fort Bend County voted for Republican Senate candidate John Cornyn. This year, 55 percent voted for Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke. Both DeFrancesco Soto and Khan said they think O'Rourke — while ultimately losing the Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz — had a significant effect on Texan voters across counties.