New Dallas DA Faith Johnson Will Have Tough Time Holding Seat in 2018 as a Republican

Gov. Greg Abbott's selection of Faith Johnson as the new Dallas County district attorney was a safe choice that showcases GOP diversity. But it's not likely to mean the GOP keeps the seat in 2018.Though she's a former judge, prosecutor and a somewhat familiar name in Dallas County political circles, it's unlikely that Johnson will have the heft necessary to beat a hard-charging Democrat when voters pick the county's top law enforcement officer.Johnson, 66 of Cedar Hill was a judge who lost her seat when Democrats took control of county politics in 2006. That year, she had the backing of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, then the county's leading Democrat, and still lost on the strength of a otherwise-unified Democratic Party vote.Since 2006 the county has become even more Democratic, as evidenced by Hillary Clinton's crushing of Donald Trump in last month's general election here.Johnson, who is black, has a relationship with southern Dallas ministers and is associated with the Potter's House and its popular leader, Bishop T.D. Jakes.But Democrats, still fuming over Republican Susan Hawk's 2014 victory over incumbent Craig Watkins, have vowed to mobilize the base and take back the seat. State District Judge Elizabeth Frizell and former state District Judge John Creuzot are leading contenders for the Democratic nomination in two years.Johnson will be formidable, but she doesn't have enough juice to hold the seat for the GOP. Perhaps no Republican does. Since 2006, Hawk is the only Republican to have won a contested, countywide race. And her victory was due to dissatisfaction with Watkins inside and outside his own party.Abbott's choice of Johnson signals just how tough it must have been for him to find a fresh-faced lawyer and politician to stabilize the office after Hawk's rocky tenure and give the GOP a chance to hold the post in 2018.Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Phillip Huffines didn't mention the prospects of 2018 while praising the pick."Her 17 years as a state district judge proves she has the experience needed to succeed as the new Dallas County district attorney," he said in a written statement.For Republicans, Johnson is not the most politically exciting choice, but she'll have to do.  Continue reading...

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