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Cobb picks up support, cash in DA campaign

Thursday, January 24, 2008 by Kimberly Reeves

Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb has emerged as a viable challenger for Travis County District Attorney in the Democratic primary on March 4, drawing a crowd of more than 100 supporters at a fundraiser last night.


Four prosecutors from outgoing District Attorney Ronnie Earle’s staff are vying to replace him. As of the Dec. 31 reporting period, Mindy Montford had jumped out to an early fund-raising lead, with $45,500 in a handful of larger contributions. First Assistant Rosemary Lehmberg, who has Earle’s endorsement, raised $30,000. The remaining candidates – Rick Reed and Cobb – reported totals that are more modest. At the time, Cobb said he had raised about $4,000.


Then Cobb, a 17-year veteran prosecutor, managed to get some wind in his sails at the Democratic candidate forum, picking up the endorsements of the Austin Tejano Democrats and Southwest Austin Democrats and began gaining some traction in the fund-raising category. Consultant Alfred Stanley said the candidate had picked up $30,000 in contributions in the last two weeks from a broad cross-section of people.


“You can go down to the courthouse, and Gary Cobb has got a reputation for being the best prosecutor in the county,” said Stanley, who brushed aside comments that Cobb did not have the administrative experience of Lehmberg. “The DA needs to know how to lead a successful prosecution, how to get a conviction.”


In his message to the group, Cobb emphasized his tough on crime stance and pointed to the new support of the Austin Police Association PAC and Travis County Sheriff’s Officer Association PAC. Cobb said those groups recognized his commitment to making the community safer through a tough stance on violent crime.


Officer Wuthipong (Tank) Tantaksinanukij, chair of the APA PAC, told In Fact Daily Wednesday that his organization planned to contribute $2,500 to Cobb during last night’s fundraiser.


A number of local high-profile leaders – former mayor Gus Garcia, former Rep. Wilhelmina Delco, Sheriff Greg Hamilton, former Commissioner Margaret Moore and attorney Jan Soifer, among them – have pledged support to Cobb.


At the candidates’ forum, Cobb emphasizes his commitment to the Democratic Party. Cobb is vice president of the Southwest Austin Democrats and a past president of the Austin Black Lawyers Association. He is presently assigned to the grant Jury and the APD Sex Crimes Unit. He also is a former Austin Assistant City Attorney.

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