Ed Emmett dethroned after 11 years as Harris County judge

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Producer

HOUSTON - Ed Emmett held the position of Harris County judge for 11 years, but soon there will be someone else in charge. 

Lina Hidalgo, a newcomer Democrat, beat incumbent Emmett by nearly 18,000 votes.

“It’s amazing victory. It’s about everyone coming together for a better community,” said Hidalgo. “So many of us women and people were outside the system and decided it was time to do things ourselves, and I am one of them and I am one of many. I’m proud to be."

The 27-year-old was born in Colombia and has worked at the Texas Civil Rights Project as a Spanish – English medical interpreter, according to her website.

Hidalgo is running on a platform on equal recovery for all.

“Transparency is very important, flooding. We got to get ahead of this.," Hidalgo said. "Also criminal justice reform is important to me, but the number one thing is transparency and listening to what people are needing."

Lillie Schechter, Chair for the Harris County Democratic Party said they’re excited to see Hidalgo take lead of the county.

“Lina is an amazing young progressive candidate who I cannot wait to see her lead the county as our county judge,” said Schechter. "I think this is absolutely a demonstration that Democrats are fed up with what's happening at the state level and the local level and the national level."

As numbers started coming in Tuesday, Emmett said Hidalgo’s lead was "almost impossible" to overcome.

Before the race had been officially called, Emmett acknowledged straight-ticket voting may have sealed his fate against Hidalgo.

“If you look at the straight ticket, almost 80 percent of the voters went in and voted a straight ticket," Emmett said. "That’s a bad situation and it means a lot of people get swept into office."

When Hidalgo was announced as the official winner, Emmett said it was a bitter pill to swallow, but he will move on.

“I will be fine and Harris County will be fine and I sincerely hope that Ms. Hidalgo, if she wins this race, has as fine a career as I’ve had over the last 40 years, so thank you,” said Emmett.

Emmett has served as county judge since 2007. He saw the county through Hurricane Harvey and campaigned to get a bond measure passed that will revamp the county’s flood control system.

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