Reaction to Terri Hodge's plea deal with the feds continues to trickle in, with Angela Hunt telling us this afternoon that she has withdrawn her support of Hodge "for obvious reasons" and now supports Eric Johnson in the March 2 Democratic primary. (Update: Hunt, Craig Watkins, Royce West, Rafael Anchia and others are scheduled to appear at South Side on Lamar to endorse Johnson on Monday at 11:15 a.m.) While Hodge could still win the seat, forcing a vote of the precinct chairs in House District 100 to name her replacement on the November ballot, Hunt says that would be a mistake.
"There's no need to drag out the election process and create a situation where voters do not directly decide who's representing them," she says. "I hope that cooler heads prevail on that."
Hunt explains that she supported Hodge because she was the only other officeholder to join her in supporting the 2007 referendum to remove the Trinity River toll road from inside the floodway.
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"She was on our side because she wanted to do what was right," Hunt says. "It was not politically helpful to her to stand with us against the mayor and all the other powerful interests, and I was impressed with that."
Because Hodge had maintained her innocence for years, Hunt says she was surprised and troubled that Hodge admitted guilt. "It's disappointing after her service -- which by all accounts has been positive and helpful to her constituents -- to hear about the criminal acts and transgressions."
Hunt declined to comment on whether Hodge should have apologized in her statement for accepting more than $30,000 from Brian and Cheryl Potashnik and using campaign contributions for personal use, claiming she hadn't read all of the court documents, and she also wouldn't say whether her relationship with Hodge has changed.
"I have not yet had the opportunity to talk with Terri, and I'd like to do that before I make any more comments about it," she says.