While Barry Johnson remains surprised that he vanquished two-term incumbent Abel Reyna by 20 percentage points, he is turning his attention to the general election for McLennan County district attorney and wondering if he will have one opponent or two.
Johnson, 61, easily defeated Reyna, 45, by 59.9 percent to 40.1 percent in the Republican primary Tuesday, lining him up for a November showdown with independent candidate Daniel Hare.
Seth Sutton entered the race as a Democrat but suspended his campaign last month, citing personal and professional responsibilities as reasons for the move. His name remained on Tuesday’s Democratic ballot.
While he said he never says never and has not yet formally withdrawn his candidacy, Sutton, 43, said it is unlikely he will get back into the DA’s race.
“I doubt that I will revive my campaign,” Sutton said Wednesday. “The example I think of is a lion tamer. I don’t believe seriously that I will ever become a lion tamer, but what would be the point of saying that I will never become a lion tamer?”
Sutton stopped short of throwing his support behind either of the two remaining candidates and said he does not think he discouraged another Democrat from entering the field by his abbreviated candidacy.
“I have said all along that I would do what is best for the party and cooperate with anyone,” Sutton said. “I would like to talk to each of them in coming days to get to know them before I decide who to support and to learn more about their special plans for the office. I would tell them to surround himself with good people. Fortunately, there are already a lot of good people in that office.”
Johnson, a plaintiffs’ attorney in Dallas for 30 years before he moved back to his hometown of Waco last year, said Reyna did not call him last night to congratulate him. He was surprised by his margin of victory and said he is grateful to the voters.
“I am going to run the same campaign,” Johnson said. “I am going to get my message out the same as it has been no matter who is on the other side of us in the general election.”
Hare, 39, moved to Waco in 2003 to work for the Baylor Bear Foundation and graduated from Baylor Law School. He worked as NCAA compliance officer at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond before moving to Monmouth, Oregon, in April 2010, where he served as athletics director at Western Oregon University.
He moved back to Waco and into his current job as director of employer relations and engagement at Baylor University Law School in September 2012.
“I have been very encouraged over the last 12 hours by a number of our supporters and others who have reached out,” Hare said Wednesday. “Some were surprised and some not so surprised from the results of last night. Nevertheless, they were all very supportive of our campaign and what we are moving forward with.”
Hare said the four pillars of his campaign will be character, accountability and transparency, fiscal responsibility and leadership.
“I believe that I am the best person to match those requirements and the goals for the office,” Hare said.