The well-documented clash between progressive Harris County County Judge Lina Hidalgo and moderate District Attorney Kim Ogg, which had already heated up in recent months due to the indictment of three Hidalgo staffers, has now boiled over into an unprecedented level of animosity between the two county leaders.
In a public rebuke of Ogg, Hidalgo held a press conference on May 17 where she blasted the DA for launching a prosecutorial effort meant to distract and destroy the county judge and her campaign.
“You have to think about the timing,” Hidalgo said. “It’s no coincidence this is happening in the middle of my re-election campaign. It’s not OK to pursue a political vendetta, a political exercise under the guise of a criminal investigation.”
The day after the press conference, Judge Hidalgo took to Twitter to expound upon her feelings that the investigation was geared specifically towards hurting her re-election chances, claiming Ogg will likely have her indicted.
In response to Hidalgo’s words, Ogg issued a lengthy statement on May 19 condemning Hidalgo as a liar who continues to, “improperly influence those people of Harris County who will serve on the jury in this case,” disregarding Hidalgo’s press conference claim that Ogg herself was the one litigating the matter out in the press whilst Hidalgo was forbidden from response due to legal protocol.
Ogg’s fervent opposition to Hidalgo and her popular progressivism is further demonstrated by her continuing relationship with the Crime Stoppers of Houston, the group she ran from 1999 to 2006 and which was featured in a recent New York Times exposé as having become an active right-wing messenger within Harris County politics. As the article reveals, Ogg even provided the anti-Democrat organization with half a million dollars in funds seized by the county through civil asset forfeiture.
Expert observers are stunned by the extent of this feud. In an interview with KPRC 2, legal analyst Brian Wice represented the showdown between the two Democrats as a “steel-caged death match.” Texas Tribune reporter Zach Despart, who has covered Harris County politics for years, tweeted that it is the ugliest political fight he’s ever seen in Houston.
Neither Hidalgo nor Ogg appear to be backing down anytime soon though. Ogg’s seems certain that “justice will prevail” in what she believes to be a worthy investigation. Hidalgo, equally certain of her innocence, is defiant in the face of the controversy: “if there’s anyone who thinks I am going to be deterred or dissuaded by this, they’ve underestimated me.
Which one of the two will win out? We will see soon enough in the months ahead.