Politics

Lina Hidalgo increases lead in Harris County Judge race two months ahead of Election Day, new poll finds

Hidalgo’s 10-point lead is notably higher than the one-point lead she garnered in a survey released in July.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media| Alexandra del Moral Mealer's website

Democratic incumbent Lina Hidalgo has strengthened her lead against Republican opponent Alexandra del Moral Mealer in the race for Harris County Judge just two months away from Election Day, according to a new poll.

The poll from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University shows Hidalgo with a 10-percentage point lead over Mealer — with 52% of Harris County residents in favor of the incumbent Hidalgo and 42% in favor of Mealer.

Hidalgo’s 10-point lead is notably higher than the one-point lead she garnered in a similar survey released in July.

“The poll demonstrates more Harris County voters are rejecting a return to the days when a GOP-controlled Harris County Government just rubber stamped the agenda of Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and other far-right politicians who lack the knowledge of what the job requires, and who are out of touch with the needs of our community," said Toni Harrison, a Hidalgo campaign spokesperson.

Rice University Political Scientist Mark Jones, who worked on the poll, said the widened percentage gap may be due to national trends.

“Late June (and) early July were a real nadir for Democrats nationally, and that was pulling down Hidalgo’s vote and boosting up del Moral Mealer’s,” Jones said on Houston Matters with Craig Cohen. “Also I think some of the attacks that Hidalgo has made on el Moral Mealer, trying to link her to some unpopular Republican polices — particularly related to abortion — have probably had an effect.”

Mealer acknowledged the wider percentage gap during a media briefing with law enforcement officials on Wednesday. She said that she was confident the gap would shrink after officially rolling out her first campaign ad, which focused on the region’s violent crime rate.

“Clearly I’ve brought support, not only with law enforcement,” Mealer said during the Wednesday briefing. “I think once voters know what I stand for, what my policies are, it’s going to be pretty clear and decisive in this election who people want to side with.”

Early voting starts Oct. 24 — less than two months away. Election Day is Nov. 8.

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