It was announced moments ago that Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been nominated to head up the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), freeing up the office of Sheriff for Harris County.
Gonzalez was elected to Sheriff in 2016 and as an incumbent, beat out Republican opponent Joe Danna in the 2020 election. The win was part of a sweeping Blue Tide that has swept over Houston in recent years. Massive early voting numbers gave Gonzalez an early lead, and demographic changes led to the ousting of many qualified Republican candidates.
But now Danna, who garnered 43 percent of the vote in the 2020 election, has an opportunity to claim a Republican victory for Harris County. Danna, who has previous experience in law enforcement, spoke at the time of the 2020 election about the safety crisis facing Harris County. “Our officers are overloaded, overwhelmed, and undervalued, and Harris County residents are underserved,” he said. “Recruitment is low because the current administration is ineffective and not supportive of officers. There is no leadership; there are politics and pandering.”
The foundation of change Danna envisions for the future of Harris County centers on communication. If elected to fill this vacancy, he will follow through with his 2020 campaign promise. “Dialogue between citizens and law enforcement will be real, frequent, and tangible,” he said. “I want meetings in the community, out and open and in public. Not these closed-door meetings where nothing happens except current leaders pat each other on the back and sweep issues under the rug. Voices of citizens most affected by law enforcement need to be heard.”
The vote for Gonzalez’s successor will go before the four Harris County Commissioners and County Judge Lina Hidalgo. As a popular candidate and someone who has demonstrated support of bipartisan law enforcement, Danna is a strong contender.