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Monday, August 17, 2020 by Nathan Bernier, KUT
Local attorney Andy Brown will be Democratic nominee for county judge
Local attorney and activist Andy Brown will be the Democratic nominee for Travis County judge in the November election. Brown won 55.88 percent of the vote Sunday night in an election by party precinct chairs.
The prior county judge, Sarah Eckhardt, resigned to run for a Texas Senate seat vacated by state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin). Eckhardt won that race and was ceremonially sworn in last week by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
If a ballot vacancy happens after the March primary, the nomination is filled by a vote of elected precinct chairs, Travis County Democratic Party Chair Katie Naranjo said.
Brown faced two candidates: County Commissioner Jeff Travillion and former Travis County Democratic Party Chair Dyana Limon-Mercado.
The selection of a white male over two candidates of color, one of whom is a woman, comes as members of the Democratic Party are trying to grow the diversity of the party’s field of candidates.
Some Democrats were not satisfied with the process.
“It’s unfortunate that none of the precinct chairs inquired with the actual elected officials regarding our expectations in the new county judge,” Manor Mayor Larry Wallace Jr. said. He was sworn in last year as the city’s first African-American mayor.
On the Republican side, the Travis County GOP did not field a candidate for county judge in 2018. Eckhardt won reelection unopposed.
This time, Republicans plan to take a shot at one of the most powerful posts in local government. But there won’t be a vote by precinct chairs. The Travis County Republican Party’s executive committee is allowing the chair to appoint the nominee. Travis GOP Chair Matt Mackowiak says he will likely announce the candidate sometime Monday morning.
Andy Brown is on the board of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, which is the parent nonprofit of the Austin Monitor.
This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.
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