A former prosecutor, who was fired by Abel Reyna when he was elected McLennan County district attorney almost four years ago, is waging a write-in campaign against Reyna on the November general election ballot.
Robert Callahan, 36, who worked for former District Attorney John Segrest for almost four years, so far is running an under-the-radar campaign, one so low-key that Reyna didn’t even know about it until told by the Tribune-Herald on Thursday.
Callahan has been in private practice since leaving the DA’s office in late December 2010. He was among eight prosecutors on Segrest’s staff who left the office during the transition in administrations.
Callahan noted that eight employees have left Reyna’s office since January, including his first assistant district attorney, and said Reyna is presiding over a “failing” system.
“I understand how the system is supposed to work and when it is failing,” he said. “The headlines speak for themselves. Eight people have resigned from the DA’s office this year. McLennan County made national news when a prosecutor shot out the window of his co-workers’ office. Property taxes increased because cases aren’t moving efficiently and the jail budget is out of control.
“Waco PD has asserted that people in the DA’s office are leaking information to criminals. Meanwhile, one-size-fits-all policies are leading to injustice.”
Callahan filed to run as a write-in candidate last month and filed his campaign treasurer designation on Sept. 9.
He listed Vincent Carpenter, an associate pastor at Antioch Community Church, as his campaign treasurer.
Reyna said he was surprised to learn about Callahan’s candidacy.
“I am very proud of my record as district attorney and the work we have done in my first term,” Reyna said. “The fact that I didn’t receive a Democratic or Republican opponent is a true testament that our community is pleased with the work we are doing in cleaning up our county and keeping our community safe.
“I certainly understand that there are going to be disgruntled former employees from the previous administration. If this is how one of them chooses to express his anger, then so be it.”
Callahan graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., before moving to Waco to attend law school at Baylor University.
He and his wife, Mollie, have two children, Isaac, 5, and Berea, 3. They are members of Antioch Community Church, where Callahan is involved in the church’s Unbound program, which battles human trafficking.
“I want to see justice in McLennan County,” he said. “When Christ is the centerpiece of your life, you’re concerned about what he’s concerned about. I am the write-in candidate for district attorney because our citizens long for character-driven leadership, fiscal responsibility, integrity and fairness.”