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Harris County Dems Boot Lloyd Oliver from DA Race

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In May, Dateline Houston brought you the story of Lloyd Oliver, our latest local star of How to Succeed in Government Without Really Trying. But Oliver’s moment in the spotlight has come to an abrupt, less than dignified end.

Oliver, who has run and voted several times as a Republican in Harris County, bested Zach Fertitta in the Democratic primary race for District Attorney. Fertitta was widely respected by both parties and had been an Assistant DA since 2003. Oliver, a lawyer, said he was running because it’s “good for business.” After his win, which he attributed to “dumb luck,” Oliver said he hoped the Democratic party would send campaign funds his way so he could “get me a John Edwards $300 haircut.”

That’s not what happened. Today, the Harris County Democratic Party took Oliver’s name off the ballot, preferring to leave Republican Mike Anderson unopposed in November.

In a letter to Oliver, Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Lane Lewis said Oliver had violated party rules when he told the Houston Chronicle in May that the incumbent DA, Republican Pat Lykos, “would have gotten my vote.” But Lane added, “You should know that regardless of my decision above, the Democratic Party has determined that it will not present a nominee this election cycle” for Harris County DA.

Ouch.

Oliver was incredulous and promised to appeal to state party officials and, if necessary, bring a federal suit to stay on the ballot. He also called those who’d brought the complaint and sided against him “goobers.”

Emily DePrang is a staff writer at The Texas Observer where she covers criminal justice and public health. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic and Salon.com, and she’s a former nonfiction editor of the Sonora Review. She’s holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, she was a National Health Journalism Fellow; in 2012 she won the Sigma Delta Chi award for public service in magazine journalism.