Early voting begins Monday, and one of the closest-watched races in Houston is downballot: the election for Harris County judge.
Democratic incumbent Lina Hidalgo is facing a tight race against Republican candidate Alexandra del Moral Mealer. Hidalgo “is a rising star in the Democratic Party,” says Texas Tribune political reporter James Barragán. “She won the election four years ago against a very popular Republican – but in a wave election.”
Hidalgo’s “been getting hit right and left on crime issues,” Barragán says. “There’s a court backlog in Harris County that’s been very difficult for her to navigate. So it’s really going to be an interesting one on Election Day.”
Her defeat could reverberate beyond Harris County, Barragán notes, as Texas Democrats look for popular candidates.
“It’s difficult for Democrats because they want to build that bench – and she’s one that they’re looking at. But if she gets beat in this local election, it kind of puts it puts a dent in that.”
For more stories from the week in Texas politics, listen to our Q&A in the audio player above.