Kim Ogg won the Democratic nomination for Harris County district attorney Tuesday, fending off three candidates in an unexpectedly tough primary for the incumbent DA, according to unofficial results released by the Harris County Clerk’s office.
Ogg faced pressure from activists over what they perceived as a lack of commitment to criminal justice reform. But despite momentum for candidate Audia Jones — including an endorsement from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who came in second in the Democratic presidential primary in Texas Tuesday — Ogg pulled ahead with more than 54% of the vote.
"Thank you #SuperTuesday voters for positioning me for re-election in the Nov. general election as a proven reformer and crime victims' advocate who rejects the extremes in politics,” Ogg wrote in a tweet Wednesday morning. “I put public safety first and balance it with fairness to all in the justice system."
"Thank you #SuperTuesday voters for positioning me for re-election in the Nov. general election as a proven reformer and crime victims' advocate who rejects the extremes in politics. I put public safety first and balance it with fairness to all in the justice system." — DA Ogg
— Kim Ogg (@kimoggforda) March 4, 2020
Harris County has been trending heavily Democratic over the past few cycles, which has made the Democratic primary increasingly the main election to watch when it comes to local offices. Because of that, progressive Democrats have grown more confident about challenging incumbents without fear that they might wind up losing the office to Republican challengers in the fall.
Such is the case with Harris County Commissioner Precinct 1, the County Attorney's Office, the Tax Assessor-Collector's Office and especially with the District Attorney's Office.
Ogg was elected as a progressive Democrat in 2016, advocating for comprehensive bail bond reform and increased use of diversion programs for non-violent offenders. She's made substantial use of the latter in office.
But she wound up opposing a court settlement in a lawsuit against the county over bail for misdemeanors. The settlement allowed indigent defendants to get out of jail on their own recognizance in such cases. Ogg argued the settlement, which was ultimately approved by a federal judge, did not do enough to protect crime victims. That, plus Ogg's requests to hire more than 100 additional staffers for the DA's office, lost her the support of some progressives.
Ogg's challengers for the Democratic nomination included three former Harris County prosecutors: Audia Jones, Carvana Cloud and Todd Overstreet. In addition to Sanders, Jones won the endorsement of two organizations that endorsed Ogg in 2016, the Texas Organizing Project and the Houston GLBT Caucus. The latter was notable because Ogg is the first openly LGBT individual to hold the DA's office.
On the Republican side, Mary Nan Huffman won the primary, securing over 63% of the vote. She and Ogg will face off come November.