Democrat José Garza won the Travis County District Attorney race with 70.98% of the vote against Republican candidate Martin Harry as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to KXAN.
Garza will take office as the second consecutive Democratic Travis County District Attorney after Margaret Moore, whom Garza defeated in the July Democratic primary runoff. Garza previously served as a federal public defender and is the executive director of the Workers Defense Project, which seeks to empower low-income workers to achieve fair employment.
“Voters have spoken with clarity, very loudly, about the reform that they want to see to their criminal justice system,” Garza said. “Voters … think our criminal justice system is broken and it’s not working for far too many people. It’s not working for communities of color, for working-class people, for women and for young people. At every opportunity they have had, they have demanded a change in our criminal justice system.”
Garza said he will seek to end cash bail, stop prosecuting low-level drug offenses of a gram or less, prioritize the cases of sexual assault victims, and increase transparency and accountability within police departments.
“We spend far too many of our resources prosecuting nonviolent, low-level drug offenses instead of prioritizing offenses like sexual assault (and) gun violence, the kind of offenses that if we prosecuted would make our community more safe,” Garza said.
Garza said he will seek to create a no-call list for officers who have been found to have engaged in misconduct. Officers on the no-call list will not be allowed to give testimony at felony hearings or have their police reports considered as evidence, Garza said. He said this will effectively bar those officers from participating in the criminal justice system.
“We have also committed to taking all cases of police misconduct before a grand jury so that members of our community can decide whether or not a law enforcement officer has broken the law,” Garza said.
Harry said it would have been a remarkable feat for a Republican to win a countywide office in this election.
Harry, an attorney who has over 30 years of experience in criminal and civil law, said he planned to make sure the law was enforced uniformly and equally within Travis County, and by doing that the communities' respect toward law enforcement officers would increase. He said his focus would be on crime prevention and rehabilitation.
“As an American, it’s just a wonderful experience to participate in this process,” Harry said. “To have the ability to be a candidate and even the possibility of serving the public in the capacity as a district attorney is just … a wonderful thing. And I was just proud to be able to participate with them.”