2008 was a big Democratic year across Harris County — Dems swept out all but a handful of the Republicans who had held all the countywide seats, some of them for years and years. One Republican who survived the wave was County Judge Ed Emmett...and with good reason. Emmett was appointed to the seat in 2007 and quickly demonstrated that he was open to working with anyone interested in solving problems rather than grandstanding about them. He offered no support to the re-election effort of Sheriff Tommy Thomas, and — like Adrian Garcia, the man who beat Thompson — he was quick to respond to complaints from a Sikh family alleging harassment. (Emmett actually has close ties to India.) And, of course, he did as much as any elected official to get the Houston area on the road to recovery from Hurricane Ike.