By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Stick it: The last time the Dallas Observer wrote about the troubles facing a local political party trying to draft a solid field of local candidates, it was August 2006, and our target was the Dallas County Democrats. We accompanied the story—subtly headlined "Party Poop"—with a picture of the exploding Hindenburg.
Ha! We're so clever. We even quoted Mike Walz, then the executive director of the county GOP: "I think they're absolutely desperate and grasping at anyone who has the inclination to put their name on the ballot and see what happens. They're just throwing anything up and seeing what sticks."
Of course, three months later that slate would sweep into office as the county suddenly turned Democratic. So, since maybe we're not exactly prescient when it comes to local politics, we're going to hold off on the snark a bit as we watch the county Republicans struggle to find a candidate for district attorney. First it was Phillip Linder, until he changed his mind. Then it was David Finn. Ditto. Now, Danny Clancy is the latest criminal defense lawyer to announce his plans to do the seemingly impossible: knock off incumbent Craig Watkins.
Clancy, a former county prosecutor and judge, says he has been considering running since he heard Toby Shook, whom Watkins defeated, decided against a rematch. Then Clancy received a call last week from Finn, who told him he wanted to spend time with his—Finn's, that is—children. "I think David just jumped the gun a little bit," Clancy says.
Finn agrees that he made his announcement prematurely, and after a discussion with his four young children (ages 11, 9, 7 and 5), he realized he was being selfish. "I could tell that I was putting my desires ahead of their needs," he says.
Clancy stresses that he'll run a positive campaign. Much like Finn, who is now supporting Clancy, he couldn't resist complimenting Watkins when asked about what he'd do differently. Clancy called the Innocence Project a "blessing," saying Watkins has done an "outstanding" job of bringing the issue of exonerations to the forefront and labeling it as "a credit to him and his administration."
He does say Watkins could do a better job of communicating with the commissioners court. "I honestly believe that Dallas County is tired of turning on the news and seeing our D.A. going toe-to-toe with our commissioners," he says. "We would all be better served if we were all working together looking for solutions with budget issues instead of trying to beat each other up."
Yeah, but where's the fun in that?