At the Dallas County Republican Party's annual Reagan Day Dinner in February, we described Cedar Hill City Council member Wade Emmert as a rising star likely to become the party favorite in the race for county judge in 2010. Emmert wouldn't confirm his plans with us at the event, but now it's official: He's running with the support of several key GOP politicians including U.S. Congressmen Pete Sessions and Kenny Marchant, state Senator John Carona and state Representatives Dan Branch and Jim Jackson.
"Over the past year, I have talked to many Dallas County residents," Emmert wrote in an e-mail promoting his June 4 official announcement at Mattito's Mexican Restaurant. "Their message has been consistent and clear: Dallas County is in desperate need of new leadership. People are tired of the politics as usual. We want to be proud of our county government."
Emmert, a partner at Burford & Ryburn, L.L.P who handled the legal case for state Representative Linda Harper-Brown's recount, also nabbed an endorsement from former Dallas City Council member Gary Griffith, who was thought to be Emmert's only notable competition in the Republican primary. Emmert claims he has the knowledge and experience needed to confront the challenges faced by the county.
"I have also developed a reputation of working with people across city boundaries and party lines," he wrote. "Many area officials and business leaders from both parties have already pledged their support."
The Democratic ticket is more crowded as incumbent Jim Foster will face Clay Jenkins, Sam Coats and Larry Duncan. With endorsements from U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, state Senator Royce West, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and commissioner John Wiley Price, Jenkins poses a significant threat. And while he's a long shot, Larry Duncan should at the very least spice up the race with quotes like the one he gave Unfair Park back in July.
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"I'll get shit done," he told us regarding the county judge seat. "That will be my campaign motto."