There is one absolute thing the three men running for the Republican nomination for sheriff of Harris County share – they don’t like the current sheriff at all.
Paul Day, Joe Danna and Randy Rush all have law enforcement backgrounds. Day worked for the Houston Police Department and currently works for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Danna for Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s office, and Rush just retired after 40 years with the HCSO.
The trio appeared at the Kingwood Country Club for a forum organized by the Kingwood Area Republican Women.
All three said the present sheriff, Ed Gonzales, is not the right man for the job. One pointed out that Gonzales was a politician before becoming sheriff in 2017. Two bemoaned the “mess” of the organization of the office and all three criticized Gonzales for jail conditions, the lack of officers in areas of high crimes like human trafficking, and for his decision not to enforce immigration law.
Day is a veteran and a self-stated “Born-Again Christian.” He has run eight times for sheriff and feels God is calling him to do so.
Danna is a native Houstonian with a list of endorsements on his website. He calls himself a “common-sense” decision maker. Danna said the current sheriff is not participating with ICE but if he is elected, “we will participate in every federal program and law.”
Rush is a second-generation law enforcement officer and the only one, he said, with experience at the Harris County Jail. He retired as lieutenant and is the only candidate with administrative experience. Rush said the sheriff’s job is to enforce the law as it written, whether he personally agrees with it or not, which drew applause from the crowd. He noted that Harris County is the No. 1 spot in the United States for DWI-related crashes and Texas is the No. 2 state for human trafficking, with Harris County leading all of Texas. He wants to do something about both.
All three stated their opposition to the idea of voting polls being located in the jail and two openly stated that they are open to working in concert with other law enforcement agencies, such as the constables. Day said he wants to take job slots away from the constables and put them at the sheriff’s office, a position he said will be controversial. “Too many slots go to constables. I am going to change that at commissioner’s court,” he said.
The three men were affable and friendly to each other with Rush stating, “We all care. Any of us would be much better than the guy who is sheriff now.”
The Republican club is hosting a Mardi Gras party Feb. 22 at the country club. For information, go to kingwoodrepublicanwomen.org.