Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff
Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke said Monday he has decided to seek the Democratic nomination — and thus another term — for the Precinct 1 seat.
Locke was initially appointed by county Judge Ed Emmett as a caretaker commissioner to fill out the term of longtime commissioner El Franco Lee, who died in January. Locke had previously said he intended to return to his job as a lawyer and spend time with his family after the end of the current term in December.
But Locke said Monday that a broad cross-section of supporters, including constituents and community leaders in Precinct 1, had swayed him. Locke said he has always maintained he would follow in Lee’s footsteps.
“I had mentioned early on in my consideration for this position that the continuation of his legacy would be one of the considerations that might make me change my mind,” Locke said.
His decision sets up a battle with state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who said earlier this year he would seek the party’s nomination after more than two decades in the Legislature. Several others, including Houston City Council members, have also announced interest in the position.
Democratic voting precinct chairs are slated to pick a nominee in June. No Republican is seeking election to the post, essentially paving the way for the precinct chairs’ pick after the current Precinct 1 commissioner term is up in December.