Margaret Moore defeats Gary Cobb in Travis DA primary


Four months ago, Margaret Moore was settling into retirement after decades of working in state and county government and politics.

But after deciding at the last minute to run for Travis County district attorney and diving into a sometimes ugly three-way primary, Moore on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination without a runoff.

Moore, who finished with just under 60 percent of the vote, defeated prosecutor Gary Cobb, who took 34 percent, and defense attorney Rick Reed, who had 6 percent.

She will face civil litigator Maura Phelan, who ran unopposed for the Republican nomination, in the November election. Democrats generally win in deep-blue Travis County.

On the campaign trail, Moore often spoke of the need to “restore integrity” to the office after departing District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s 2013 DWI arrest made national headlines.

“My message was that we need new leadership, that we need a person that the community can have confidence in,” Moore said Tuesday night at her election night party at Threadgill’s. “I’m going to work really hard to live up to what (voters) want, which is integrity and hard work and professionalism.”

As his watch party at El Sol y La Luna was clearing up, Cobb acknowledged Moore had won and said, “I only wish her the best.”

In the 1970s, Moore and Lehmberg worked together in the district attorney’s office. A 1978 case they tried together was the first time the county put forward an all-female prosecution team, according to a news release in Moore’s personnel file.

Moore left the district attorney’s office to run for county attorney. She has twice been appointed to fill vacancies as a Travis County commissioner. She retired in 2014 from the state attorney general’s office, where she litigated civil Medicaid fraud cases.

Moore’s victory is a shocking reversal of fortunes for Cobb, who for months seemed to be a lock to win the race to replace Lehmberg without facing an opponent. But Moore, Reed and Phelan joined the race after an American-Statesman story in November revealed that Cobb had a court-ordered $163,000 debt to his ex-wife related to their 1994 divorce and that he had made conflicting statements in sworn depositions. Cobb settled the debt in December for $60,000.

In the whirlwind campaign, Reed relentlessly attacked Cobb while Moore mostly steered clear of the mudslinging. In a twist, Reed revealed Tuesday that he voted for Moore and urged his supporters to do the same, leading Cobb’s campaign to suggest they had been coordinating. Moore denied that at her Tuesday night party, which Reed attended.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations
PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations

Since early June, President Donald Trump had insisted that his hands were tied and families who wanted to enter America without permission had to be separated. The adults went to one place to await criminal charges, while their children were sent to another facility. As the number of children being held rose above 2,000, Trump continued to blame the...
Shaking up cabinet to shrink the government
Shaking up cabinet to shrink the government

President Donald Trump, spurred on by conservatives who want him to slash safety net programs, on Thursday unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal government that could have a profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans.  Produced over the past year by Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, it would reshuffle social...
Who is Dolly Gee, the judge deciding the fate of Trump’s executive order?
Who is Dolly Gee, the judge deciding the fate of Trump’s executive order?

Judge Dolly M. Gee has called the treatment of immigrant children in detention “deplorable” in a legal opinion. She has castigated the federal government for “fear mongering” when it argued that the detention of migrant families at the border was a necessary deterrent.  And that was during the Obama administration. ...
Study: Republicans see ‘misinformation’ in media at twice the rate of Democrats
Study: Republicans see ‘misinformation’ in media at twice the rate of Democrats

Fresh data affirm a long-running crisis for U.S. media organizations: Republicans and conservatives just don't trust them. A May 2017 Pew Research Center noted in stark terms how the media-trust gap is widening between the parties. Now comes a Gallup/Knight Foundation survey with a finding that cements common wisdom on the topic.  Asked to estimate...
Tabloid allegedly ran stories by Trump before publishing
Tabloid allegedly ran stories by Trump before publishing

During the presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid's articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump's attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication, according to three people with knowledge of the matter — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship...
More Stories