Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo wins re-election race

by | Nov 9, 2022 | 2022 Elections, Houston

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo won her re-election bid with a narrow margin of 1.49 percent against Republican opponent Alexandra Mealer after a nail-biting vote count early Wednesday morning. 

According to the Harris County Elections office, Hidalgo defeated Mealer by 15,957 votes.

For context, Hidalgo secured 342,420 votes in early voting, while Mealer held 340,139. On Election Day, Hidalgo gained 172,334 votes, while Mealer lagged with 169, 221 votes. 

Hidalgo’s win keeps Democrats in the county’s highest position. 

Furthermore, Democratic challenger Lesley Briones defeated incumbent Republican Jack Cagle for the Precinct 4 seat Tuesday night. Briones’s win now gives the court a 4-1 Democratic majority.  

Hidalgo, County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman Slyvia Garcia, and more elected officials held a press conference on Wednesday at the Harris County Democratic Party headquarters to celebrate the victory. 

Hidalgo held a press conference at Harris County Democratic Party headquarters to celebrate her reelection win.

“Unity prevailed over division in this election,” Hidalgo said. “ Truth prevailed over lies. And decency prevailed over vitriol. Playing dirty is easy, and it wins, but it didn’t win here.” 

According to campaign finance reports, republican billionaires and right-wing political action committees donated over $9 million to Mealer’s campaign. Mealer received contributions from some of the city’s most significant influencers, including Jim McIngvale, also known as “Mattress Mack,” and oil and gas tycoons Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks. 

Still, the GOP failed to change the dynamics of the local court. Hidalgo raised around $2.4 million, with a majority of them small-dollar donations. 

At the press conference, in addition to thanking Mealer for a hard-fought race, she thanked labor unions, The Texas Organizing Project, and local elected officials for supporting her campaign. 

“We earned every vote and not with exaggerations or falsehoods; we earned them with hard work and with results over the past four years,” Hidalgo said. 

In the days leading up to Election Day, Hidalgo campaigned with Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and actress Jane Fonda.

Regarding policy, Hidalgo said she would continue addressing issues like crime, education accessibility, road repairs, and more. 

“Whether you voted for me or not, I’m proud to represent you,” she said. “I want to see our community through that energy transition. I want to tackle flooding to actually solve the problem. I want to make sure every child has access to early childhood education. There’s so much that we can do together.”  

Despite Mealer, Republicans, and even Democrats, including Harris County Attorney Kim Ogg framing crime as an issue in Harris County, Hidalgo said she stands by her work in the office so far and will continue to address public safety issues. 

Furthermore, regardless of quarrels in the past, Hidalgo said she’s ready to work with Ogg if she’s open to it. 

“I’ve increased the budget for her office year after year since we took office, record amounts of funding,” Hidalgo told the Signal. “So I’m there, and I’m ready to continue working together based on truth, but of course, collaboration takes a willingness to work together.” 

Mealer conceded the race Wednesday morning. 

“While we did not accomplish our goal of changing leadership in Harris County, we were successful in elevating the profile of critical issues like the need to appropriately resource our law enforcement and criminal justice system as well as the desire to eliminate corruption and increase transparency in local government,” Mealer tweeted.

Photo: Kennedy Sessions / © Texas Signal Media Company

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Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.

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