Defense lawyer Chantal Eldridge has clinched the 331st criminal district court race against longtime Judge David Crain. Eldridge secured 69.26 percent of the vote while Crain got 30.74 percent.
On the campaign trail, Eldridge criticized Crain’s work ethic, pointing to statistics from Dec. 8 that showed defendants in his court had averaged 129 days in jail awaiting the resolution of their case — the most of the county’s eight felony courts. She suggested Crain had gotten stale after 32 years as a local judge, the last seven of which have come presiding over felony cases.
Meanwhile, Eldridge faced questions of her own concerning a 2006 Austin police investigation into allegations she had sex with a 16-year-old exchange student who was living with her. Eldridge denied wrongdoing and accused Crain’s backers of “dirty politics” for leaking information about the investigation.
459th District judicial race
The 459th judicial district race will head to a May 22 runoff election between the top two finishers Judge Aurora Martinez Jones, who had 45.66 percent of the vote, and defense lawyer Maya Guerra Gamble who had 37.63 percent of the vote. The court was established in last year’s Legislative session. Austin attorney Dustin Howell, who was sent by Gov. Greg Abbott to run through the election season, plans to return to private practice.
Travis County Court-at-Law No. 5
In the Travis County Court-at-Law No. 5 race, Judge Nancy Hohengarten, who had a lead thoughout election night, won with 69.65 percent of the vote.
Hohengarten’s opponents took shots at Hohengarten for her actions in two 2017 drunken driving trials. She held Adam Reposa in contempt of court after he questioned her integrity in front of prospective jurors, prompting Reposa to file a complaint saying Hohengarten unfairly restricted his questions.
Hohengarten also caught heat for posting on Facebook that she felt “tortured” by an lawyer, later identified as Skip Davis. Hohengarten insisted she was joking. The Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association voted against issuing a letter condemning her actions.
Travis County Court-at-Law No. 3
In the race for Travis County Court-at-Law Judge No. 3, Judge John Lipscombe defeated challenger Paul Quinzi with 59.25 percent of the vote. With no Republican challenger in November, the top vote-getter will likely be the overall winner.
Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3
Challenger Sylvia Holmes, who led the race for Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3 throughout election night, won with 61.08 percent of the vote. Justice of the Peace Susan Steeg, who has served in that position since 2007, received 38.92 percent of the vote. Holmes will face Republican Martin Harry in November for the seat that presides over the southwestern portion of the county.