The Houston Chronicle editorial board endorses Republican nominee Alexandrea Mealer as a Harris County judge

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — The Harris County judge race is set to be close, and the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board approval could be seen as crucial, according to policy experts.

Texas voters are heading to the polls soon, with a race drawing much attention to who will take the top spot in Harris County.

“In the entire state of Texas, we really don’t have a lot of competitive racing this cycle,” said Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University.

“I think on election night one of the races that most poll watchers will be watching is the Harris County judges’ race,” Jones said.

Jones will be posting a judges race poll in the coming days. The results, he expects, will be close.

RELATED: ‘This Week In Texas’ puts spotlight on Harris County Judge’s race

“Right now it’s a race that’s too close to announce,” Jones said.

When it comes to what matters to Harris County voters, Jones says it comes down to the price of goods and crime. The current budget fight doesn’t seem to matter as Jones explained it could be complex.

Republicans have not appeared in court for a month, blocking Hidalgo from passing a higher tax rate to boost spending on policing, health care and flood control. But what matters to voters, Jones says, is that in 2022, Hidalgo’s employees will be charged with directing the outcome of a multi-million-dollar contract.

“In the polls, we addressed one of the top issues after inflation and public safety as public corruption,” Jones said.

The charges against employees are why Chron’s editorial team say they supported Hidalgo’s opponents.

“It’s not that easy to say that these charges are politics,” said Lisa Falkenberg, opinion editor of the Houston Chronicle. “There is actually some evidence. We walked away from this screening without the answers we wanted.”

The board had a meeting with both candidates.

It said Hidalgo failed to fill the hole in fighting rising crime and charges against its employees. They added that it wasn’t an easy decision because Hidalgo has done well on other things, including opposing the governor over COVID-19 and early childhood education.

“We looked at these two candidates,” said Falkenberg. “We looked at what they said we would do. We looked at what Lina Hidalgo did and we came to a conclusion.”

Jones said that with the judge’s race expected to be close, approval from the Chron’s editorial board could be crucial.

“This is a race that’s likely to be decided somewhere between less than one percent and five percent,” Jones said. “So two or three percent of voters shifting one way or the other could be the difference between victory and defeat.”

ABC13 contacted both candidates. As of Friday, there was no response from Mealer.

The Hidalgo campaign sent a statement to ABC13 stating:

“The Chronicle’s confirmation is certainly disappointing, but also confusing. The Chronicle won a Pulitzer Prize this year for its editorials on voting rights. This is why someone who plans to wipe voter rolls and who has extremist Defend Texas Liberty PAC as one of their biggest donors is a mystery, is backed. It’s worth noting that during the drafting committee’s review, Judge Hidalgo Mealer asked directly whether President Biden won the 2020 election. Mealer didn’t respond, instead deflecting on the media’s lack of coverage of “Hunter Biden.”

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. The Houston Chronicle editorial board endorses Republican nominee Alexandrea Mealer as a Harris County judge

Russell Falcon

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