Dallas County DA Candidates Trade Attacks

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    The candidates for Dallas County district attorney exchanged accusations Thursday in their first and only election campaign debate.

    District Attorney Craig Watkins, a Democrat, said he has reformed the office in his three years and deserves to continue his work.

    Dallas County DA Candidates Debate

    [DFW] Dallas County DA Candidates Debate
    The candidates for Dallas County District Attorney-- incumbent D.A. Craig Watkins, a Democrat, and Republican candidate Danny Clancy-- hurled accusations in their first and only debate this campaign season. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010)

    "My experience says you fight for what's right and not just go along to get along," he said.

    Watkins said his approach also applies to his budget disputes with Dallas County commissioners.

    The Republican candidate is criminal defense attorney Danny Clancy, a former state district judge and assistant district attorney.

    Clancy said his 18 years of courtroom experience is superior to Watkins' and that Watkins' fights with Dallas County commissioners are counterproductive.

    "His performance at Commissioners Court last week, in my opinion, was unprofessional, unbecoming, embarrassing, in my opinion, for the district attorney’s office, and I think people are tired," he said.

    The candidates have traded attacks over the use of campaign money and past conduct in legal work. One calls the other "sleazy," the other says his opponent is "reprehensible."

    The debate was held at a Dallas Bar Association luncheon and moderated by NBCDFW's Ken Kalthoff.