To the delight of State Representative Rafael Anchía and others in the Dallas County Democratic Party, chair Darlene Ewing couldn't have been more wrong when she told us that "rampant fear and mistrust" would leave Terri Hodge's successor in the hands of precinct chairs in House District 100. Anchía, whose district borders Hodge's to the west, says Ewing wasn't giving the voters or Eric Johnson, who crushed Hodge 75-25 Tuesday night, enough credit.
"She had no idea what she was talking about," he tells Unfair Park. "To my knowledge, there's no basis for the statement that she was making. I mean, I surely hadn't seen anything that would have led me to the conclusion that she was making. I think she was just completely wrong."
Although Anchía spent Tuesday in Houston attending business meetings and serving as a surrogate for Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Bill White, he says Ewing's comments grabbed his attention. He hasn't spoken with any of his colleagues about her statements and has yet to reach Ewing, but in the messages he's left for her, Anchía says, "I've let her know how disappointed I was in her comments."
When asked whether he's upset enough to ask for a change in party leadership, Anchía told us that he plans to wait until he's had the opportunity to understand Ewing's motivations and hear her side of the story. "And we haven't had a chance to do that, so I'm going to suspend any final judgment on that question."
Anchía first met Johnson at a leadership conference that Johnson and Anchía's wife attended together, and then Johnson and Anchía practiced law together at Haynes and Boone before Johnson opened his own firm. While Anchía touts Johnson as a "well-prepared and well-educated candidate who's originally from the district," he supported Hodge until she pleaded guilty on February 3 to one count in connection with the City Hall corruption case.
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So why did it take him so long to come around?
"I came around at the earliest possible opportunity," Anchía says.
Waiting for Hodge's plea was the earliest possible opportunity?
"I think it was, actually, because I also have a relationship with Terri Hodge," he says. "We had served together in the Legislature, so that does count for something. And until she pleaded, she maintained her innocence, and I was going to take her at her word. And when she did plea, it was clear to me who the right candidate was for that race."