DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In this episode (original air date: 9-22), Jack sits down with both candidates running for Dallas County District Attorney. Jack also breaks down a poll in the Texas governor’s race with a UT Arlington associate dean.
Each week, CBS 11 Political Reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories making headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above, and stream new episodes live every Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. on CBS News DFW.
Controversies over the carriage of migrants
The controversy over transporting migrants from Texas to other cities across the country heated up this week.
Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have slammed Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for busing or flying asylum-seekers to Vice President Kamala Harris’ official residence and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Both governors and Republicans are pushing back, including Senator John Cornyn, who says transporting migrants across the country is nothing new.
A group of migrants who were voluntarily flown by the state of Florida from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard have filed a lawsuit against DeSantis, saying they were deceived. DeSantis has denied this.
Meanwhile, the Bexar County Sheriff has also launched an investigation to determine if any laws have been broken. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the investigation overblown.
Latest poll numbers in Texas governor’s race
A poll of registered voters released this week by the Dallas Morning News and UT Tyler shows Gov. Greg Abbott nine percentage points ahead of Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
In the same poll, “likely voters” also preferred Governor Abbott over O’Rourke, 50%-39%. Rebecca Deen, associate dean for academic affairs at UT Arlington’s College of Liberal Arts, said it wasn’t surprising.
“If you look at ‘likely voters’ and ‘almost certain voters,’ they tend to be more conservative and Republican,” she said. “The reason for this is historical voter turnout data. If you look at who is most likely to vote, especially in non-presidential elections, it tends to be the core voters. When it’s election day [they’re] went to the elections. If you look for it, you often get people who are a bit older, tend to be more of a white demographic, and a bit more homeowners, embedded in their community. These are the groups that Republicans have targeted over time, especially here in Texas.”
Democratic candidates in Texas and across the US have devoted much of their campaign to abortion rights. Deen noted that that’s no surprise either.
“When the Dobbs decision was made, one of the things that a lot of political scientists talked about was the lag time between the decision and the election,” she said. “There are people who may be personally opposed to abortion but see that total ban is not something they can support. I think that’s one of the reasons you see O’Rourke in the places where he fights on college campuses and around the world.”
Watch the full interview with Rebecca Deen in the video player above.
Dallas County District Attorney Race
This November, Dallas County will have a political rematch from 2018 as Republican Faith Johnson seeks to unseat Democrat John Creuzot as district attorney.
Creuzot defeated then-district attorney Johnson four years ago. Johnson said she is running to make a difference in Dallas County.
“I plan to make sure the people of Dallas County are safe and secure,” she said. “You don’t feel safe. You don’t feel safe. And they don’t feel like they have a DA to take care of them.”
In her conversations with Dallas County residents and business owners, Johnson said they have expressed concerns about rising crime.
“If you’re talking about taking $750 from these shopkeepers … they can’t afford for someone to walk into their store and steal up to $750,” she said.
“People feel like they can do whatever they want,” Johnson said of the current state of the county. “It has to change.”
Johnson also discussed why a Republican can win the district attorney seat.
“People, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, they don’t like crime,” she said.
She said people from across the political spectrum had asked her to run again because they didn’t like guidelines being issued by the Attorney’s Office. She believes the reason she lost in 2018 was due to direct voting on tickets that no longer exist in Texas. She now said that people experienced Creuzot, they don’t like what he did.
If elected, Johnson said her first priority will be to reintroduce the policy of prosecuting theft cases under $750. She also criticized Creuzot for not enforcing the death penalty in some murder cases.
Another priority is re-implementing her AIM program, which began in 2016 during Johnson’s previous tenure as prosecutor. The program aims to reduce the recidivism rate.
“I believe in second chances. However, I don’t believe in unlimited opportunity,” Johnson said.
According to them, the program is abused by judges and allows people to repeat crimes. Her vision is to limit the “unlimited” amount of second chances.
Her opponent, Democratic incumbent John Creuzot, believes he deserves re-election for addressing the issues he spoke about during his 2018 campaign.
One topic was examining racial disparities in arrests for marijuana offenses. Creuzot said he stopped prosecuting those cases, which helped free up officers’ time to respond to other calls. He said an independent study conducted by SMU showed that this policy worked and that there was no link to arrests for marijuana offenses and violent crimes.
“We have taken an evidence-based approach in running this office,” he said.
Creuzot said his mental health diversion program reduced recidivism rates from 50-70% to 20%. Looking ahead, he plans to focus on mental health and homelessness with his Dallas Deflects program.
“We actually handled 681 murder or homicide cases,” Creuzot said. “We are targeting the people who have hurt us the most and holding them accountable.”
He says the conviction rate was 87% during the previous government, compared to 93% this year.
According to crime statistics published on the City of Dallas website, the homicide rate has increased by over 10% compared to 2021. At the same time, aggravated assault, rape and other types of crime have declined. Creuzot believes there is no one-to-one relationship with law enforcement and crime reduction.
“Where the real one-on-one comes into play is the quality of ongoing policing,” he said. “What’s happening on the street and whether crime is happening or not, I think we’re learning and understanding based on this new chief of police and his methodology and the acceptance by the mayor and city council that that’s more has a positive impact on crime reduction.” out.”
Regarding the decision not to prosecute thefts under $750, Creuzot said there was no evidence that this policy had any effect on the number of thefts in Dallas County. He said he has yet to find any current policies that have led to an increase in crime.
In response to Johnson’s criticism, Creuzot believes an automatic life sentence is a more efficient and cost-effective solution than the death penalty.
“It’s more complicated than people realize and very expensive to do.”