WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - Challenger Jana Duty ended the reign of long-serving Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley with a convincing victory in the Republican primary Tuesday night.
The returns came in slowly, but Duty managed to grow her early lead through the night and into Wednesday morning. By the time all of the unofficial vote count was posted, she had bested the 10-year incumbent by a margin of nearly 55 percent to 45 percent.
She'll go on to face Democrat Ken Crain, a Georgetown lawyer, in November.
Even though Duty had maintained a steady lead all night, she remained guarded in her remarks as long as there votes left uncounted.
"We feel very confident, very excited about the numbers growing in our favor," Duty told KXAN just after 10 p.m.
Bradley was not available to reporters were he was watching returns privately in Liberty Hill. He was joined briefly at the private venue by Gov. Rick Perry, who endorsed the incumbent in the primary. The governor did not comment on the DA's race but instead focused on more general themes.
"Tonight is also a good night because conservatives across Texas are winning races and building an enduring conservative majority in the Texas Legislature," Perry said.
The hard-fought race centered around Bradley's role in the infamous Michael Morton wrongful conviction. Duty faulted Bradley for fighting DNA testing.
Bradley reportedly spent the day trying to get voters to cast a ballot with his name on it. However, when KXAN tried to catch up with the district attorney, he did not return phone calls.
During Bradley's time as D.A., Williamson County has developed a reputation of being tough on crime, but the Michael Morton exoneration has really caused this race to be one that the entire area and the entire state is paying attention to.
Bradley's opponent Jana Duty has used the Morton case in her campaign ads, but Bradley has countered by talking about his more than 20 years of experience, and his knowledge of Williamson county and the office.
Morton - the man recently released after spending 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife – was exonerated. Incumbent D.A. Bradley fought to prevent DNA testing on evidence from the crime scene which delayed the release of the innocent man
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