It was announced this morning that incumbent Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson had lost his battle with cancer. Anderson first announced his illness in May after his first election as District Attorney in November of 2012. It was never revealed what kind of cancer Anderson had or when he was first aware of his illness.
Anderson beat first-term incumbent Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos in the 2012 Republican Primary. That primary centered on Lykos' priorities and treatment of law enforcement. Charles Kuffner did an excellent job covering that primary and the issues which you can read here, here, and here. Anderson took the side of wanting to be a more active prosecutor relating to drug offenses and had the backing of many law enforcement groups while Lykos was backed by Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill.
On filling the vacancy: District attorney appears to be the only job in Texas county executive branch that is not to be filled by appointment from the commissioner's court. District and appellate courts fill vacancies by appointment from the governor with consent from the Texas Senate. The office of Governor Perry confirmed he would appoint a successor in the near future with a special election likely to be held in next year's regular general election. Whomever wins the 2014 general election will have to face the voters again in 2016 for a full four-year term.
It is important to state, while Mike Anderson was elected as a republican, and we differed on many important policy positions, this is not a happy or acceptable way for any elected official to leave office. Cancer is a terrible disease and at age 57, he left his friends and family way too soon. Anderson is survived by his wife, Devon, children Sam and Brynn, parents J.B. and Carol Anderson, his sister Jan Bailey, her husband Brent and their children. We wish all the strength and condolences available to his family and friends in their time of grief. Rest In Peace, and thank you for your service to your community, Mike Anderson.
A collection of statements on DA Anderson's passing can be found after the jump.The Office of Harris County District Attorney, via Belinda Hill
After a courageous battle against cancer, it is with a heavy heart that we must announce that Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson passed away. We all have suffered a terrible loss today of a devoted public servant, husband, and father. His sense of justice, his wisdom and support, his easy laugh, and, most of all, his friendship were his gifts to us. He loved this office and the people here serving the citizens of Harris County.”
Texas District and County Attorney's
“We have just learned that Harris Co DA Mike Anderson passed away. Our prayers are with his wife & kids & the entire Harris Co DA family.”
Houston Mayor Annise Parker
“My prayers are with the family of Mike Anderson today. He was a well respected public servant. His death is a loss to Harris County.”
Harris County Sheriff's Office
“We mourn the death of Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson, who served the public as prosecutor and judge for decades.”
Houston Police Department Chief Charles McClelland
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Anderson, who I have known for more than 25 years. He has contributed so much to the criminal justice system in Harris County and will be sorely missed. The community has lost a true champion for justice. On behalf of all the men and women of the Houston Police Department, our thoughts and prayers, along with our heartfelt sympathy, go out to Mike's family, colleagues and friends at the Harris County District Attorney's Office.”