Josh Tetens has declared victory in the race for McLennan County District Attorney

WACO, TX (KWTX) – In a contest expected to focus on McLennan County’s post-COVID criminal justice system, Republican Josh Tetens narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Aubrey Robertson to win the district attorney’s race.

The 42-year-old Tetens, who defeated one-time McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson in the Republican primary, tied the election lead over Robertson. At 10:30 p.m., with nearly 42 percent of the vote, Tetens won with 68.7 percent and Robertson with 31.2 percent. Tetens voted 42,722 to 19,419 for Robertson.

“I want to thank all of our supporters and those who volunteered so much for our campaign,” Tetens said. “I want our community to know that I am ready to serve and work diligently to improve our District Prosecutor’s Office. I truly appreciate the support I have received from law enforcement and look forward to working with them and our entire judicial system to ensure justice is served.”

Robertson, 39, a former prosecutor in Harris and McLennan counties, also thanked his supporters.

“First, I want to thank everyone who supported me,” Robertson said. “I think the message of our experience really had an impact and I’m proud of that message. Josh is now everyone’s DA and his success is important to all of us and I wish him the best of luck.”

Johnson, like Tetens, had no prosecutorial experience before taking the job. Johnson said he would do everything he could to ensure a smooth transition.

“I’m certainly not trying to tell anybody how to run the office,” Johnson said. “But as far as the nuts and bolts of some of the things that the DA is supposed to be responsible for, I would certainly be open to meeting with Josh so that we can have a smooth and orderly transition of power.”

The match between Tetens and Robertson showed the difference in styles. While Tetens raised nearly $200,000 in campaign donations, held several fundraisers and spent nearly as much as he received, Robertson funded his campaign out of pocket, solicited no donations and said he would return the donations he received. .

Tetens, whose father was a police officer, won the endorsement of law enforcement associations and was aided by the significant support of McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara, especially in his initial battle with Johnson.

Robertson said he is “100 percent” in favor of legalizing marijuana, and not devoting much of the office’s resources to prosecuting petty pot crimes. He also said he would not go on a “doctor hunt” and promised not to prosecute abortion doctors.

Tetens countered that he would enforce existing laws, as his oath of office requires, and work to mend the walls between the DA’s office and local law enforcement.

The general election campaign was much more civil than the primary contest between Tetens and Johnson. Robertson was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Tetens and Robertson both agreed that the current state of the DA’s office is in dire straits and needs immediate improvement.

“I think we’ve focused on the issues during this general election campaign and avoided any personal attacks.” I think people are very tired of it, and frankly, I think it’s demoralized the voters.”

In a surprising twist that many didn’t see coming, Johnson hired Robertson as his first assistant in late July. The exercise lasted just 12 days before Johnson fired Robertson, saying the changes Robertson proposed when he hit the ground running would cause chaos in the office.

Many saw Johnson’s unusual turn to the opposing party’s candidate as a final slap in the face to Tetens, who carried Johnson by 40 percent, and perhaps even a jab at members of the Republican Party for not supporting the incumbent.

Tetens said it was too early to announce any job changes, while Robertson said he would “answer the call” and return to the DA’s office if Tetens felt his prosecutorial experience would benefit the office. Robertson now works in the law office of former District Attorney Vic Feazell.

“I will say that I think there are a lot of outstanding prosecutors in this office that I look forward to working with,” Tetens said. “I want to improve our relationship with law enforcement, as well as with victims, and I also want to have a better relationship with the courts. I also want to move documents more efficiently with the help of judges and also work with the defense panel so people don’t have to wait years to go to trial.

“I’m ready and willing to work and I’m hoping for a very smooth transition,” Tetens said.


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