DAs endorse Leitha for sheriff

District Attorneys Scott Monroe (left) and Lucy Wilke (right) have endorsed retired DPS Special Agent Larry Leitha (center) for Kerr County Sheriff.

Both sitting Kerr County district attorneys have endorsed Larry Leitha for Kerr County Sheriff in the upcoming runoff election.

Lucy Wilke, of the 216th Judicial District, and Scott Monroe, who serves in the 198th Judicial District, held a formal endorsement event just prior to the COVID-19 crisis and are reaffirming their support for Leitha today.

Leitha faces Kerr County Sheriff Office Sgt. Elias Garcia, who narrowly outpolled Leitha in the March 3 Primary Election, which saw five candidates vying for the Republican spot on the November General Election ballot. Garcia finished the night with 2,791 votes, while Leitha trailed by 44 votes, which gave Garcia a less than one half of a percent lead on the night.

Wilke said she is placing her support behind Leitha based on her many years of experience working with him prior to his retirement from the Texas Department of Public Safety after 24 years of service, citing his character and work ethic.

The endorsement of two sitting district attorneys is a departure from the norm and past election cycles, but both said they felt they wanted to make their feelings known publicly in this race.

“No rule prohibits a DA from endorsing a candidate. They just discourage it. And you don’t want to make an enemy of someone. It is pretty unusual to do this,” Monroe said. “But Lucy and I thought it was important to let our thoughts be known.”

Wilke said her decision to publicly support Leitha was a professional one.

“I’ve been a criminal prosecutor for my entire career and work very closely with the sheriff,” Wilke said. “I’ve known Larry professionally for most of my career. I am not endorsing a friend. I am endorsing the person I would like to see as the next sheriff from the perspective of how it will affect my office. I wouldn’t endorse anyone unless I truly believe in their character and I am basing my decision on my personal experience as a prosecutor working with Larry on felony cases over the past 24 years.”

Monroe said he also based his decision on Leitha’s experience and qualifications.

“I know Eli. He’s a nice man. Larry, because of all he’s done, commands respect,” Monroe said. “Popularity won’t save the day. It needs to be respect.”

Leitha retired as a Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent. Leitha has logged 5,000 hours in law enforcement training and has served as a peace officer for 31 years.

Garcia’s law enforcement career spans 22 years, serving four years with the Kerrville Police Department and 18 years with the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office. Garcia also retired from H-E-B after 35 years of service.

The runoff election was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns and will be held July 14. Early voting begins June 29.

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