After more than a year of campaigning, Brett Smith can finally claim the permanent title of Grayson County District Attorney.
Smith, a Republican, beat Democrat Pamela McGraw Tuesday to keep the spot he was appointed to on an interim basis earlier this year. Smith received 31,901 votes and McGraw received 10,411 votes.
“I am extremely pleased with the results,” Smith said Tuesday evening, noting 75 percent of the voters who voted supported his campaign. “We have been on the campaign trail, I think it's about 14 months.”
Smith said he felt like he probably had the office won when he got the nomination from the Republican executive committee and then when the Grayson County Commissioners appointed him as interim DA, but he didn’t want to be presumptuous.
Smith said he doesn’t see any need for any real changes at the DA’s office at this point.
“The changes that have already made have been those that I wanted to make," he said. What we do at the DA’s office works. We have a great staff. I am just very excited, I want to thank the citizens of Grayson County who give me the opportunity to go forward. I will work hard to earn their confidence.”
McGraw said she was depressed about the outcome of Tuesday's election.
“I have said that we need to get started a lot earlier," McGraw said. "We have to start on 2020 almost immediately. It is really just focusing on 2020,”
She then pointed out that she means for Democrats to focus on 2020 because she is not planning to run again.
“We are not going to go away,” she said of what she called a building year for Democrats. “We were told that we need 8,800 and some odd votes. And we got that. So it wasn’t enough but it was what we set our eyes on.”
McGraw said she thinks Smith is going to make "an awesome district attorney."
"I have the utmost respect for him,” McGraw said.
Smith’s long and winding road to the top spot at the DA’s office began back in November 2017 when both he and Assistant District Attorney Britton Brooks filed to run in the primary after their former boss, Joe Brown, was nominated for the position of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
Brown’s confirmation, however, didn’t come through until Feb. 16, which meant that neither Brooks nor Smith could be on the March primary ballot. At that time, party leaders said precinct chairs would pick who would run for the Republicans in the November election. When Brown left the county prosecutor’s spot, he left Kerye Ashmore in charge and the commissioners left that in place until May when they named Smith to the post. Then in June, Brooks dropped out of the race and accepted a post that made him a special contract prosecutor with the county and allowed him to also operate his own law firm.
McGraw’s road to political candidate was not that dramatic. She drew no challenger in the primary.
During that time, McGraw worked with other women who would eventually file for places on the Democratic ballot in Grayson County. McGraw graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1993 and returned to Grayson County to practice law in 2001 after representing cities and their employees as an attorney for the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool.