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Lovins ready for uphill fight in county judge race

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Although he did not make a decision to run for Travis County Judge until Sunday, the day before the filing deadline, Republican candidate Michael Lovins says he is ready to fight. Lovins acknowledges that he will have an uphill battle against Andy Brown, the newly minted Democratic nominee for the seat. Because Travis County is unlikely to elect a Republican county judge, there was evidently not much of a behind-the-scenes battle for the nomination, and Travis County Republican Party Chair Matt Mackowiak made the decision.

Brown, who ran a robust campaign, was selected by Democratic precinct chairs to run for the seat vacated by Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt. She resigned to run for the Texas Senate seat vacated by Kirk Watson.

Brown, 47, and Lovins, 45, are both practicing attorneys and both attended law school at the University of Texas. Brown, who ran against Eckhardt in 2014, has had his eye on the job for years, while Lovins has just been called to action.

Lovins told the Austin Monitor, “I know this is an uphill battle but I also know that people are very dissatisfied with what is happening in local government. I’m going to do everything I can to turn this around. … This is the start of bringing the voice of reason to local government.”

Although Lovins seems to be arguing against City Council’s decisions to decrease police funding, he says the Commissioners Court can “step in and fill the gap where the Austin City Council has not done its job.” As to how that might happen, he said, “We have to increase funding for the Sheriff’s Department and increase patrols” within the city. Lovins also argues that the Sheriff’s Department should “enforce trespassing laws” on state and private property under bridges.

He acknowledges that even if voters select him as county judge, his vote would be just one of five on the court, and it seems unlikely that there would be more than one other Republican.

Brown, on the other hand, is focused on diverting people away from jail and overhauling the criminal justice system. It is unlikely that he would support a policy that would cause more people to be incarcerated, such as removing homeless people from their shelters under bridges.

Editor’s Note: Andy Brown is on the board of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, which is the parent nonprofit of the Austin Monitor.

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