Watkins to Texas Tribune: "If You Throw Punches at Us, We'll Drop a Bomb on You"

While he's been dodging us and other local media outlets, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins apparently had no qualms about granting an interview to former DMN'er Emily Ramshaw, who profiled his November race against Republican candidate Danny Clancy for the Texas Tribune. Strangely, Watkins comes across as decidedly Republican in the opening paragraph when he proclaims in the third person that voting for him is "a religious experience."

Ramshaw touches on the recent controversy regarding the Office of the Attorney General's offers to assist in an investigation of the constables -- Watkins sees the OAG as "encroaching" on his territory -- but our favorite part is where she tries to get some answers about his wife's consulting biz and how Watkins spends his campaign dough.

Watkins has also made headlines over his campaign finance spending habits -- paying tens of thousands of dollars to family members or the businesses they operate. And he's caught heat for an alleged conflict of interest: His wife's political consulting firm represents judges who preside over the same county courts where his office prosecutes cases. Watkins counters that ethics rules don't prohibit hiring family members or using family businesses to run campaigns (in fact, it's a common occurrence). And his wife's political consulting business has checked out all the way up to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. He staunchly refutes the toughest allegation against him -- that he was using campaign funds to pay the utility bills for the family businesses that share his campaign office space. "I have only ever paid my share," he says.

Update: The GOP is using Watkins's comments in an attempt to raise money.

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Sam Merten
Contact: Sam Merten