147th District Court: Brown Takes Gammon Down

Primary election results

Cliff Brown, with well-wisher and Assistant D.A. Gary Cobb
Cliff Brown, with well-wisher and Assistant D.A. Gary Cobb (Photo by Jana Birchum)

It was all smiles from family and friends at the E-night party for Cliff Brown, who blew away his competition in the fight to be the next judge of the Travis County 147th Criminal District Court being vacated by retiring Judge Wilford Flowers.

Brown, who snagged 71% of the vote against civil attorney Bill Gammon, has served as the city's police monitor since 2007. Early in the evening, when early voting numbers had all but assured his win already, Brown was still being cautious: "I've never allowed myself to get to the point of taking it for granted that I would win," he said. Indeed, the race for the 147th first drew a field of qualified contenders – including Brown (who has been running for the seat since last summer), incumbent misdemeanor Judge David Crain, and prosecutor Karen Sage. Both Crain and Sage eventually left the race to run for other empty courthouse benches before Gammon dropped his name into the race.

Although many saw the hemorrhage of challengers as a testament to Brown's prowess as a clear front-runner, Brown was much more modest about his long-haul campaign. "There were so many changes [in the race] that we never allowed ourselves to take anything for granted," he said. "Up until 6:45pm, I was out handing out fliers at different elementary schools" where residents were voting. Clearly, the work paid off: "I'm elated. I'm excited," he said of his big win. Indeed, because there are no Republican challengers to his seat, Brown is all but guaranteed to take over Flowers' bench in January – an eventuality that the retiring Flowers seems happy to accept. "He's the best," Flowers said of his presumptive successor at Brown's victory party at Third Base in West Austin.

For now, Brown said, he will continue to focus on his job as the city police monitor. "I want to make sure I continue my job and do the very best for the city so that there is a smooth transition," he said. In the past, leadership handoffs in the Office of the Police Monitor haven't exactly been smooth, and Brown said he'd like to avoid any lapse in service. "I will do my level best to make sure" there is no "vacuum of leadership," because that "hurts the city and ... the people we serve," he said.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

147th District Court, Cliff Brown, Bill Gammon, election, election 2010, judicial races, courts

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