Former Texas DA Announces Senate Campaign

Mark Gonzalez speaks on a panel
Mark Gonzalez speaks on a panel | Image by Kelly West/The Texas Tribune

A former Texas district attorney announced on Tuesday that he would be running for the U.S. Senate in a bid to unseat incumbent Ted Cruz.

Mark Gonzalez, who had until recently been the district attorney of Nueces County since 2017, announced his campaign on social media, stating, “Texans deserve better than Ted Cruz.”

“I won twice in a red county as a Democrat by running on my values, not away from them. It’ll take a movement to beat Ted — let’s build one, together,” Gonzalez added.

In a statement sent to Texas Scorecard, Gonzalez said that, if elected, he would be a “Senator who prioritizes people, finding solutions with a focus on what’s best for Texans.”

Gonzalez resigned earlier in the week following the filing of a “petition to remove” by activist group Citizens Defending Freedom, which describes itself as “a Christian-based non-profit organization” that believes that “biblical principles … are paramount in the success of the United State [sic] of America” and that “It is imperative to uphold these core values to ensure our freedoms and liberties remain intact.”

He tendered his resignation in a letter sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, in which he noted his intention to run for the U.S. Senate. The former district attorney claimed he was resigning due to “a brazen out-of-state effort, [led by] MAGA-aligned political radicals [intending] to end my term early, weaponizing our already overworked courts to remove me from office.”

“The civil removal trial set for December will never happen because I refuse to play this rigged Republican game,” he added.

In January, Colby Wiltse, state director of the Texas branch of Citizens Defending Freedom, had filed the petition against Gonzalez, alleging that he had mishandled multiple cases while serving as district attorney.

According to the petition, Gonzalez “failed to enact policies for the handling or accountability of evidence in high profile cases, often leading to significant delays in the administration of justice.”

One apparent example was the case of Brenna Wood’s murder. The petition stated that a state court found evidence of “gross incompetence, negligence and/or carelessness on the part of the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office in the prosecution and investigation.”

Between March 2021 and March 2022, Gonzalez apparently dismissed roughly 865 felony cases, including many that involved “aggravated assault or attempted murder, sexual assault, family violence, aggravated robbery, burglary, theft, drug sale or manufacturing, and felony driving under the influence,” according to the petition.

The petition also claimed that Gonzalez dismissed an additional 1,978 misdemeanor cases during that same timeframe and 8,690 misdemeanors out of a possible 10,055 “court dispositions” between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a new state law expanded the definition of official misconduct on the part of prosecutors to include the adoption of non-prosecution orders. The expanded definition allegedly exposed multiple district attorneys around Texas — including Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot — to potential liabilities that could result in their ouster.

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