The DUI arrest of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg could have far-ranging consequences. The DA’s office is home to the Public Integrity Unit, which has jurisdiction over crimes committed by public officials. Republicans have long hungered to get their mittens on the office, which has a history of prosecuting high-profile Republicans, including Tom DeLay and Kay Bailey Hutchison. (It has also prosecuted high-profile Democrats, including former speaker Gib Lewis, and, more recently, state representative Kino Flores.
If the office were to become vacant – say, due to Lehmberg’s resignation – Governor Perry would be able to appoint a successor, as he did in Kaufman County, and, of course, the successor would be a Republican. It’s too early to know how this is going to play out, but Republicans may be able to drive a wedge into a Democratic stronghold.