Devon Anderson appointed D.A.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Governor Perry has appointed Devon Anderson, former Judge and widow of previous District Attorney Mike Anderson, has been appointed the new District Attorney of Harris County.

Yesterday, Jared Woodfill (Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party) wrote an open letter to the Governor recommending Devon Anderson (hereafter, “Anderson”) to the post. Anderson has a longtime prosecutor over the years, and served as a Judge in a Criminal District Court for one four-year term.

My colleague David Jennings at Big Jolly Politics has some words to say on this topic earlier today, back before Governor Perry made the official appointment. Jennings, who reminded everyone that Woodfill actually supported Pat Lykos (Mike Anderson’s primary opponent last year), published an open resolution from the Harris County Republican Party’s Executive Committee that showed they definitively took no stance on who should be appointed by the Governor. I will give him credit for pointing at the Chronicle article yesterday, which insinuated the “Harris GOP” was behind the push, was somewhat misleading. It was Woodfill in an individual capacity, not on behalf of the larger party.

This, however, begs the question of what about Anderson, a former Republican officeholder, is so offensive to the Republican establishment. Jennings insinuates that Anderson is pro-choice, which I have no information on.

I did not have much of a preference on the new District Attorney, given that all of them were Republicans. In fact, I was completely unaware of the candidates other than Belinda Hill until yesterday. I suppose I would have preferred one of the Lykos allies such as Rachel Palmer (she got exonerated today, by the way) in the office, but it is all a moot point now.

I assume Anderson will be running for the remainder of the term in 2014, so the Democrats need to find a new candidate. The Democrats fell on their sword last year when it came to selecting a nominee, and yet that nominee received 48% of the vote. Just think what we could do if someone who wasn’t a maladjusted perennial candidate had been nominated?

Another Anderson for DA?

The Houston Chronicle reports on the growing draft movement of Devon Anderson for Harris County District Attorney. Devon Anderson is the widow of Mike Anderson, the late District Attorney who passed away last month after a battle with cancer. Shortly thereafter, the first assistant DA, Belinda Hill, became the official Acting District Attorney. It is the ultimate responsibility of Governor Perry, of course, to appoint a replacement to serve until a Special Election may be held next November.

Jared Woodfill, the Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, made the official suggestion in an open letter to Governor Perry. As the Chronicle reported, Woodfill said: “The person who would be the best to fill Mike’s shoes, and they’re big shoes to fill, would be his wife. I’m hopeful that the governor will appoint her to carry on Mike’s legacy. She’s very, very qualified for the position.”

Devon Anderson is not just the widow of the previous officeholder, she is a very experienced attorney and jurist in her own right. A longtime prosecutor herself, Devon Anderson served as Judge of the 177th District Court (Criminal felonies) for one term, from 2005 to 2009. At that time, she was defeated by Kevin Fine, a Democrat (Fine later resigned mid-term; his replacement, Republican Ryan Patrick, was re-elected in 2012).

Reportedly, (acting DA) Belinda Hill is also interested in maintaining the office permanently. KTRK notes a list of four other candidates being discussed by local Republicans. Given that Perry makes the call, it is a forgone conclusion that a Republican will get the nod. The other names include Marc Carter, the Judge of the 228th District Court (Criminal felonies).

Jim Leitner, a key Lykos aide, and Rachel Palmer, both prosecutors, were other names mentioned. Palmer has some skeletons in her closet relating to being investigated for criminal wrongdoing and pleading the fifth. Leitner was also involved in this controversy.

The last name mentioned by the KTRK article is Ted Poe. Being a Congressman with unbelievable job security, and being a mere 65 years of age, I cannot understand why Poe would consider leaving Capitol Hill for this job.

When all is said and done, it will be Perry’s decision. In the State’s largest County, Perry (& his advisers) probably have quite a few opinions of his own, so I do not think recommendations from the local level will affect the outcome all that much.