Best Democrat (2001)

Eric Andell, Visiting judge

This former First Court appellate justice and TV court-show host narrowly lost his post last November, but the defeat did nothing to dim Andell's luster as one of the most promising figures in the local party. He carried Harris County, did well in traditionally Republican precincts, and is primed to be a major party standard-bearer the next go-round. A bit of a gadfly and socialite, Andell is a world-class schmoozer and works a crowd with the best of them. Republican leaders ardently wooed Andell to switch parties and keep his bench, a maneuver executed by fellow appellate jurist Murry Cohen. "I wouldn't have my integrity," explains Andell of his decision to stay a Democrat. With Harris County's changing demographics pointing the way to a political resurgence for the Democrats, Andell's loyalty could pay off handsomely in the not-too-distant future.

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