The Dallas County Commissioners Court could turn completely blue for the first time in decades.
Democrats are sweeping ballots nationwide to remove the only Republican from the court, Commissioner JJ Koch. Early voting results show that Democratic candidate Andrew Sommerman is in the lead.
Incumbent Clay Jenkins sweeps first results to retain his district judge seat.
The race between the two attorneys, Koch and Sommerman, was close, with some observers fearing that the traditionally conservative district would switch to a Democrat one after some conservative-leaning Sashe, Rowlett and North Garland were merged with other districts during the recent redraw of maps based on the 2020 census count. In 2018, Koch won his seat with just under 52 percent of the vote.
Koch ran the court on a platform of standing with law enforcement, criminal justice reform and a strong fiscal voice.
Sommerman’s campaign promised strong management and a change from Koch’s vocal criticism of the judges in the felony case dispute.
The two face each other in court. Koch sued District Judge Clay Jenkins over his mask mandate at commissioner’s court sessions. Sommerman and his firm, along with two other law firms, represent Jenkins.
Incumbent Koch first accused Sommerman of lying about his credentials, and in response Sommerman accused Koch of misleading voters about him.
Sommerman admitted to errors on his LinkedIn profile, candidate profile and campaign website — including claims that he taught courses at universities when he wasn’t always the case — after inaccuracies were uncovered by his opponent’s research.
In a campaign email, Koch said his opponent was being paid by Dallas County to defend Jenkins in a lawsuit over statewide mask mandates. Jenkins’ chief of staff and county receipts report that Sommerman was not paid by the county.
Koch has reported raising $654,624 in political contributions during the campaign, which is $260,952 more than his Democratic challenger.
As political pundits have predicted, Jenkins is ahead of his first candidate opponent, Lauren Davis, despite outpacing him by a 2-to-1 margin in campaign contributions.
The district judge seat is the highest position in the district government. The elected officer oversees the sessions of the Commissioners Court, votes on the five-member court and is the head of emergency and disaster relief.
Jenkins was first elected district judge in 2010 and was a personal injury attorney. He still owns the law firm of Clay Jenkins & Associates in Waxahachie.
Davis owns a chain of barbershops, The Gents Place, with her husband.
Davis ran on a platform aimed at overthrowing Jenkins for his support of mask-wearing guidelines during the COVID pandemic and on a platform for businesses and law enforcement. Davis raised nearly $1.59 million in political contributions throughout the race, compared to Jenkins’ $810,942.
Jenkins’ campaign touts his proven effectiveness as Dallas County’s chief official over the past decade. He has stressed the importance of public health and responding to emergencies.
He helped respond to the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Dallas County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout, and respond to monkeypox concerns. He helped Dallas County residents file for federal damages after the recent floods.
In 2018, Jenkins won his seat by a wide margin, receiving more than 63 percent of the vote.
As expected, Commissioner Elba Garcia survived her race against libertarian Timothy Miles.
Early results report that she had a large lead in voting and held her seat in Dallas County securely. Your District 4 includes Irving, Grand Prairie, Cockrell Hill, West Dallas and West Oak Cliff.
Garcia has represented District 4 since 2011 after serving on the Dallas City Council. She has spearheaded the restoration and modernization of facilities through the establishment of the Facilities Management Committee.