Harris County

Harris County

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Contents

History

Harris County was founded on December 22, 1836 as Harrisburg County. The name was changed to Harris County in December 1839. The county is named for John Richardson Harris, an early settler of the area.

As of the 2010 census, the county had a population of 4,092,459, making it the most populous county in Texas and the third most populous county in the United States. Its county seat is Houston, the largest city in Texas. The demographics of Harris County are as follows:

Total Pop.  % 18+ Pop.  % CVAP  %
Total 4,092,459 2,944,624 2,195,535
Anglo 1,349,646 33.0% 1,085,630 36.9% 1,090,624 49.7%
Hispanic 1,671,540 40.8% 1,082,570 36.7% 494,695 22.5%
Afr-Am 754,258 18.4% 541,108 18.4% 481,492 21.9%
Asian 249,853 6.1% 194,956 6.6% 106,547 4.9%
Other 67,162 1.6% 40,360 1.4% 22,177 1.0%

County Government

  • County Judge: Ed Emmett (R)
  • County Commissioner #1: El Franco Lee (D)
  • County Commissioner #2: Jack Morman (R)
  • County Commissioner #3: Steve Radack (R)
  • County Commissioner #4: Jack Cagle (R)
  • County Attorney: Vince Ryan (D)
  • County Clerk: Stan Stanart (R)
  • Sheriff: Adrian Garcia (D)
  • Tax Assessor-Collector: Mike Sullivan (R)
  • District Attorney: Mike Anderson (R)
  • District Clerk: Chris Daniel (R)
  • County Treasurer: Orlando Sanchez (R)


Constables and Justices of the Peace

Precinct Constable Justice of the Peace - 1 Justice of the Peace - 2
Pct. 1 Alan Rosen (D) Dale Gorczynski (D) David Patronella (D)
Pct. 2 Gary Freeman (D) Jo Ann Delgado (D) George Risner (D)
Pct. 3 Ken Jones (D) Mike Parrott (D) Don Coffey (D)
Pct. 4 Ron Hickman (R) Kent Adams (R) Tom Lawrence (R)
Pct. 5 Phil Camus (R) Russ Ridgway (R) Bill Yeoman (R)
Pct. 6 Victor Trevino (D) Richard Vara (D) Armando Rodriguez (D)
Pct. 7 May Walker (D) Hilary Green (D) Zinetta Burney (D)
Pct. 8 Bill Bailey (R) Holly Williamson (R) Louie Ditta (R)

Kenneth Berry was appointed by Harris County Commissioners Court to serve for the duration of the vacancy created by the resignation of longtime Constable Jack Abercia (D) in Constable District 1 on January 5th, 2012. He served until Alan Rosen was sworn in after being elected in November of 2012.

2012 Election Summary

2012 saw Harris County establish itself as a true swing county, with vastly different electorates in Presidential and midterm years deciding elections very differently. At the top of the ticket, Barack Obama carried the county with less than 50% of the vote (49.39% to Romney's 49.31%). Among countywide offices, incumbent Democrats Adrian Garcia (Sheriff) and Vince Ryan (County Attorney) won re-election while Republican nominees Mike Anderson (District Attorney) and Mike Sullivan (Tax Assessor) won election after defeating Republican incumbents in their party's primary. Among judicial contests, Democrats carried the overwhelming majority of contests.


2010 Election Summary

2010 was the year of the Tea Party in terms of Republican Party activism. As turnout in many heavily-GOP precincts rose, turnout in heavily-Democratic precincts remained closer to midterm-level norms. The result is that Republicans dominated all elections, save for that of Governor, where former Houston mayor Bill White earned a bare majority of the vote.

Highlighting the difference between 2010 and 2008, a small number of Democratic incumbents were defeated after having won unexpired terms in 2008. Among the incumbent Democrats who lost their contests in 2010 were Loren Jackson, the newly-elected District Clerk and Dion Ramos, the 55th District Judge. Also at the county level, Precinct Two County Commissioner, Sylvia Garcia, lost a close re-election contest against an incumbent who spent little money. While Precinct Two included many heavily Hispanic precincts, the turnout was outweighed in a competitive district by higher levels of turnout in GOP-friendly areas such as Clear Lake, Deer Park, and parts of Pasadena.

The inverse of the Obama Effect in Harris County meant that Democratic State Representatives in competitive districts also fell. HD133's Kristi Thibaut lost re-election to former incumbent, Jim Murphy while HD134's Ellen Cohen lost to first-time challenger Sarah Davis. Hubert Vo managed to win re-election in HD149, running 5-6 points ahead of statewide candidates in his district.

2008 Election Summary

2008 represented the long-awaited tipping point for Democratic success in the county, as Presidential candidate Barack Obama drove higher levels of turnout among more casual voters for a narrow victory in Texas' most populous county. Obama would defeat John McCain in the county 50.4% to 48.8%.

The net result was that after several cycles of improving results, Democrats carried most countywide elections, with a few Republican candidates hanging on. At the judicial level, the impact was most severe, with all but fourDemocrats winning in November. At the administrative level, Republicans had more success, starting with County Judge Ed Emmett's successful handing of emergency preparations after Hurricane Ike. Emmett joined County Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt in earning re-election among the administrative offices, while Pat Lykos won her open seat contest for District Attorney against former Houston Police Department chief, C.O. Bradford.

Adrian Garcia's campaign for County Sheriff was the high-water mark for Democrats, with Garcia earning 56.3% against incumbent Tommy Thomas in the aftermath of investigative news reports that highlighted Thomas' relationship with county contractors. The impact of Obama's appeal among infrequent voters and minorities also drove turnout in key areas of the county, helping State Representative candidates such as Kristi Thibaut (HD133) and Hubert Vo (HD149) in competitive districts.

Precinct Map

Legend:

  • dark red = <25% Dem
  • red = 25-40% Dem
  • pink = 40-50% Dem
  • light blue = 50-60% Dem
  • dark blue = >60% Dem

Alternate views: 2008 Sheriff - basic red/blue designation; 1994 map bases result on an average of three contests: Governor, US Senator, and State Treasurer.

Percentage of vote for Barack Obama, Adrian Garcia and 2006 Supreme Court nominee (Moody) in the precinct information window.