We’ve already had an overview of the GOP DA primary, but that race is apparently too big for just one story, so now we have profiles of the two candidates, Pat Lykos and Mike Anderson. I figure if you’re following this race closely there’s not much stories like these are likely to tell you that you don’t already know, but they do sometimes remind you of things you may have forgotten about. That was the case for me in the Lykos story:
Going in to this political season, she has had to contend with two grand jury investigations of her office, both of which ended without returning any indictments.
One was an inquiry in to a former prosecutor’s allegation that she was made to under-report her overtime.
The other investigation, about HPD’s troubled breath alcohol testing vehicles, lasted six months and regularly was in the public eye because several court documents were released about the machinations of the process.
After the grand jury disbanded without any action, the members released a letter blasting Lykos for “unexpected resistance.” They also said she investigated them, which she denied.
The district attorney railed against the grand jurors and said the letter showed that the investigation was politically motivated.
The back and forth led to yet another investigation, this one by the Texas Rangers about whether county resources were used to investigate grand jurors. That investigation continues.
I’d forgotten about the first grand jury, and while I hadn’t forgotten about the Rangers investigation it hadn’t occurred to me recently to wonder what its status was. Now I know. As for the Anderson story, I did learn something new:
“As a judge, Mike Anderson was very formal,” said defense attorney Norman Silverman. “I never had a problem with him, although as a judge he was state’s-minded. I had to have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”
His detractors also say that his candidacy is an exercise in revanchism – revenge by members of an old guard resentful that an outsider, Lykos, wrested the office from their grasp in 2008.
Silverman, who is backing Lykos, holds to that theory. “When [Johnny] Holmes and (Chuck) Rosenthal ran that office, it was very much of a good-ol’-boy network,” he said. “We had to copy offense notes by hand and could only take notes. Lykos has just brought a much more refreshing let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may attitude. She’s been much more forthcoming with sharing information.”
Anderson rejects the idea of revenge but agrees that he represents a return to an earlier way of running the office. “There are some things from the good, old days that are very, very important – honor, integrity, ethics,” he said. “I mean all of those things should just flow like a heart beat at that office.”
Holmes, who retired in 2000 after 21 years as district attorney, supports his former colleague. “I have no personal animosity toward Pat Lykos,” he said, “but what’s been happening in her office tells me she doesn’t know what she’s doing. This isn’t on-the-job training.”
Holmes added that if Anderson lost to Lykos in the primary, he would vote in the fall for the likely Democratic nominee, former assistant district attorney Zack Fertitta.
I figure after most hard-fought primaries, especially ones where there’s some bad blood to begin with, there are loyalists of the losing candidate who refuse to back the winner. I also figure that in most cases, the effect is fairly minimal, and that party affiliation usually wins out. This one may be an exception. I admit I was a bit stunned to see Johnny Holmes say for the record that he would not vote for Lykos if she gets re-nominated. Will that make a difference in the fall? Would there be the same effect if Anderson wins? I really can’t say, but it’ll sure be worth keeping an eye on. As a reminder once again, you can listen to my interview with Lykos here and with Anderson here.