Andy Brown and the Bold-Faced Names

County Judge candidate garners major endorsements

Travis Co. Attorney David Escamilla with (l-r) Andy Brown, Kirk Watson, Lloyd Doggett, Ellen Richards
Travis Co. Attorney David Escamilla with (l-r) Andy Brown, Kirk Watson, Lloyd Doggett, Ellen Richards (Photo by Michael King)

At a combination school fundraiser and political rally Thursday night, Travis County judge candidate Andy Brown announced several high-profile endorsements before an enthusiastic crowd.

The master of ceremonies at the George Washington Carver Museum event was County Attorney David Escamilla, who introduced a trio of prominent Democrats: philanthropist Ellen Richards, state Sen. Kirk Watson, and Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Brown followed with thanks and his campaign theme of “Travis County values”: “When we all work together, we can accomplish great things.”

Richards spoke of meeting Brown during her mother Ann’s 1990 campaign for governor, where she first learned of his “progressive values that I share.” She praised his work “to bring everyone to the table,” to defend “the rights of women to make their own medical decisions,” to “provide access for everyone to quality public education.” She praised his “outstanding leadership” as Travis County Democratic Party chair, adding that she “trust[s] him absolutely to bring people together.”

Watson wryly described the Party chair position (one he once had himself) as “the hardest job in the world,” and praised Brown for “doing whatever it takes” to complete his assignments. “I’ve come to trust that when Andy tells you he’s going to do something,” said Watson, “it’s going to be done.” He added that he trusted Brown to perform well in the role of county judge, and to defend the environment, civil rights, women’s rights, and public education. “I could go on and on and on,” the senator joked in reference to the recent battles at the Legislature, “but I’m tired of filibusters.”

Doggett (who other than Brown received the loudest ovation of the evening) noted that Brown’s tenure as Party chair took place in “tough territory” - a blue Democratic island in a red Republican Texas sea – while adding that circumstances may slowly be changing in nearby counties. He thanked Brown for working on difficult Doggett campaigns – “full-time in McAllen” – when Doggett’s congressional district was gerrymandered from Austin down to the border town – and said Brown has been “working in the trenches” promoting “progressive values that we hold so dear.”

“I’ve known Andy, I think, going back to his high school days,” Doggett continued, “and I’ve come to admire him, respect him, and trust him and his commitment.”

Afterward, Brown campaign manager Jim Wick told NewsDesk that the event had raised $2,500 in cash and an estimated $2,000 in school supplies for the organization Austin Voices for Education and Youth.

Beyond the endorsing headliners, the broader news of the occasion may well have been the long list of bold-face Democratic Party names in attendance, most of them wearing “AB” stickers in Brown’s honor. Here’s a partial list, gathered by NewsDesk on the wing and in no particular order: Pct. 2 commissioner candidates Richard Jung and Brigid Shea; county attorney Escamilla; asst. county attorney Mack Martinez; Pct. 4 commissioner Margaret Gómez; former state rep. Wilhelmina Delco; political consultant Alfred Stanley; Del Valle ISD trustee Richard Franklin; AFSCME spokesman Jack Kirfman; Texas Federation of Teachers secretary-treasurer Louis Malfaro; Austin public safety commissioner and state rep. candidate Ramey Ko; Austin ISD trustees Gina Hinojosa and Jayme Mathias; former Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower; Pct. 1 Constable Danny Thomas; former county attorney Ken Oden; former county Party chair Chuck Herring.

That doesn’t exhaust the guest list – Escamilla listed a few more who couldn’t attend – and the couple of hundred people crammed into the lobby of the Carver Museum might well have constituted a convention quorum of the Travis County Democratic Party. Whether they reflect a potential county voting majority – with the March primary still months away – is yet to be demonstrated. Brown’s opponent, recently resigned-to-run Pct. 2 commissioner Sarah Eckhardt, is currently traveling in Europe with her family (scheduled to return this weekend), but her campaign manager Nick Hudson released a statement in anticipation of the event on her behalf: "Sarah Eckhardt looks forward to continuing her work with Senator Watson and Congressman Doggett when voters elect her Travis County Judge."

No one at Thursday’s gathering would speak an ill word of Eckhardt, and indeed several people in the crowd were careful to preface their support for Brown with praise for Eckhardt as a person and a commissioner, and every one NewsDesk spoke to said they expected a tough and close race for county judge. TFT’s Malfaro may have summed up the general sentiment when he said that Eckhardt has indeed been a good commissioner. But he continued, “There are only two ways to run a political campaign: unopposed or scared. Brown is running scared, and Eckhardt’s in Europe.”

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Travis County Commissioners Court
Gerald Daugherty Says Farewell
Daugherty to Retire
Pct. 3 County Commissioner announces retirement

Michael King, Dec. 6, 2019

State Grant Approved for Public Defender Office
Public Defender Grant Approved
New era in Travis County indigent defense to begin next year

Michael King, Aug. 30, 2019

More Andy Brown
Brown Makes It Official
Brown Makes It Official
Former Dem County Chair Announces Run for Judge

Michael King, June 8, 2013

More by Michael King
<i>Hope and Hard Truth: A Life in Texas Politics</i>
Hope and Hard Truth: A Life in Texas Politics
Life beyond the governor’s office with Ann Richards’ chief aide

Sept. 2, 2022

Embattled Doctor Prevails Against the Texas Medical Board
Embattled Doctor Prevails Against the Texas Medical Board
The little guy wins

June 24, 2022


Travis County Commissioners Court, Travis County judge, elections 2014, Andy Brown, Sarah Eckhardt, Kirk Watson, Lloyd Doggett, Ellen Richards, March 2014 Election

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle