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Laurie Eiserloh, Delia Garza to face each other in runoff for Travis County attorney

The winner of the May runoff will run unopposed in the November election and will be a shoo-in to replace David Escamilla for Travis County attorney.

AUSTIN, Texas — After incumbent David Escamilla announced retirement when his term ends in 2020, four candidates vied to be the Democratic nominee for Travis County attorney.

With 42% and 39% of the votes, respectively, Laurie Eiserloh and Delia Garza beat out Mike Denton and Dominic Selvera for the Democratic nomination but will compete against each other in a runoff election. Eiserloh and Garza will have to face each other in a runoff because none of the four candidates garnered more than 50% of the votes in the March primary election.

According to the city website, the Travis County attorney:

  • Prosecutes misdemeanor crimes
  • Obtains protective orders for victims of domestic violence
  • Obtains involuntary commitments for certain mentally ill persons
  • Advises the elected officials of Travis County regarding their official duties

Here is a look at the two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination:

Laure Eiserloh

According to her campaign page, Eiserloh is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and a former 10-year member of the county attorney’s civil litigation division. She has practiced government law since 1993, primarily litigation. Eiserloh also practiced at the firm Bickerstaff Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever and McDaniel. She served as executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, where she fought in the Texas Legislature for the rights of gay people, according to Eiserloh’s campaign page.

As county attorney, Eiserloh says that she would:

  • Advocate for climate change accountability: “Climate change is the most significant issue of our time. In August 2019, Travis County joined with hundreds of other local governments across the country and declared a climate emergency.” She compares climate change litigation to previous lawsuits against big tobacco and opioid manufacturers.
  • Promote diversion programs: “A person who has been charged with a misdemeanor is often at an entry stage in the criminal justice system. When possible, I want to give those who want to turn their lives around at this early stage the opportunity to do so.”
  • Explore and advocate for options for people with mental illness or addiction that are not centered around the criminal justice system.
  • Prioritize resources for family violence programs to help victims of domestic violence.

Delia Garza

Delia Garza is a former Austin City Council member and former Mayor Pro Tempore. Garza began her public service in Austin as a firefighter and represented the Austin Firefighters Association Local 975 in contract negotiations for fair wages and safer working conditions.

Garza left Austin in 2007 to attend Gonzaga University School of Law. She graduated from Gonzaga and then served as an assistant attorney general in the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General. Garza was then elected to Austin City Council, becoming the first Latina to serve on city council. She was also the first Latina to serve as mayor pro tem. During her time on the Austin City Council, Garza helped reform Austin’s municipal court to stop incarcerating people who could not afford a misdemeanor fine.

As county attorney, Garza said she will:

  • End the cash bail system in Travis County.
  • Pursue litigation against statewide leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton. She touts her role in the City of Austin’s lawsuits against Abbott and Paxton relating to immigration enforcement.
  • “Stop prosecuting poverty”: The Garza-affiliated “Draft Delia” campaign explains, “When people lose their jobs because of needless time in jail, we put them and their family’s financial security in jeopardy. Sometimes, people even get deported because they’re unnecessarily jailed for a minor offense.”

The winner of the runoff election in May between Garza and Eiserloh will run unopposed in the November election and will be a shoo-in to replace Escamilla for Travis County attorney.

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