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'We Are Ready For A Change,' Susan Hawk Says In Declaring Victory In Dallas DA Race

Stella M. Chavez
Republican Susan Hawk declared victory Tuesday night in the Dallas County District Attorney's race.

Republican Susan Hawk upset two-term Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins Tuesday in one of the closest races of the night. Hawk declared victory just after 11 p.m. as she led Watkins by a few thousand votes.

“I think that the voters of Dallas County have spoken that we are ready for a change,” Hawk said. “I think the voters have spoken that Dallas County deserves so much better than what we have right now.”

Hawk had a lead over Watkins throughout the evening. Shortly after 2 a.m., all of the precincts were reporting results, and Hawk won with 50.4 percent of the vote. She ended up getting about 3,000 more votes than Watkins.

Supporters at her election watch party talked about Hawk’s experience as a former state district judge and a Dallas County prosecutor. Voters also mentioned Hawk’s appeal to non-Republicans, which put her over the top in Dallas County, a Democratic stronghold.

During her speech at MesoMaya restaurant, Hawk acknowledged her historic win in Dallas County.

“It is such an honor to be the first woman district attorney,” Hawk said. “We are going to be the best district attorney office the nation’s ever seen.”

Throughout the campaign, Hawk criticized Watkins for spending forfeiture funds to settle a car accident he was involved in.

Watkins’ supporters, including Dallas County Democratic Chair Darlene Ewing, knew it would be a tough race.

“I realize that he’s had his issues, but he still has the right philosophy for what he wants to do with justice,” Ewing said. “He wants to be fair. He wants to be smart and I think that’s a better philosophy than what we’ve had historically from Republicans.”

Watkins remained inside his office throughout Tuesday night. He held a party, but the media wasn’t invited. Reporters were forced to wait outside – in the rain.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.
Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.