Kerr County commissioners had another chance this week to seek an interim replacement for County Attorney Rob Henneke during next year’s campaign season but again opted to keep him in office.
Commissioner H.A. “Buster” Baldwin, who was not able to attend the meeting when Henneke told commissioners he was willing to stay on despite the state’s “resign to run” law, put on Monday’s agenda an item to consider soliciting applications for persons to serve as an interim county attorney. Previously, commissioners declined to seek applications after Henneke announced plans to not seek re-election as county attorney in order to run for the Texas Legislature.
Baldwin said he placed the item on the agenda after being approached by several constituents requesting that Henneke be replaced as county attorney during the campaign season.
“I have had several of my constituents come to me requesting that we put this on the agenda and get it taken care of,” Baldwin said. “I’ve listened to it and actually there is some ugliness involved in it.”
Baldwin did not elaborate on the ugliness but said he decided to withdraw the item because he feels Henneke will continue to do his job during next year’s Republican Party primary election and the general election.
“He seems to be here doing his job,” Baldwin said.
As county attorney, Henneke is the chief legal counsel for Kerr County and the county prosecutor. Henneke, 35, was first elected county attorney in a special election in 2010 and was unopposed in 2012 for a four-year term.
He announced plans to seek the Republican Party nomination next year days after incumbent Rep. Harvey Hilderbran said he would not seek another term in the Legislature. Hilderbran has since announced he will run for state comptroller.
Filing for the March primary does not begin until November, but Henneke has already drawn one opponent seeking the party nomination, Bandera County resident Karen Harris.
Both candidates already have been seen around town at various events and handing out campaign literature.
Henneke said Wednesday the campaign won’t interfere with his ability to do his job as county attorney and that he will continue to serve Kerr County.
“I made a commitment first to the citizens of Kerr County when I ran to be county attorney, and I’m going to keep that commitment,” Henneke said.
Henneke also characterized himself as a “strong prosecutor” who has made some people “unhappy.”
“The overwhelming majority of this community supports me, and thinks highly of the job that I’ve done,” he said. “A couple of individuals that have voiced public objection is coming as an attack based on my performance as county attorney.”
Henneke said he considers it a “closed issue.”
Texas’ resign-to-run law does not apply to all elected offices. It does cover many district offices, judges and prosecutors.
The law makes the officeholders resignation automatic when they become candidates, but a holdover provision in the law requires the officeholder to continue in the office until a replacement is appointed. County commissioners have said they will not make that appointment until after the election.