Why Prosecutors Win Re-Election As Often As Soviet Leaders


University of Arizona law Prof. Marc Miller jokes that district attorneys lose elections only slightly less often than leaders did in the old Soviet Union, says the Waco (TX) Tribune-Herald. A recent study of prosecutor elections found that when incumbents run, they win 95 percent of the time. The primary reason is that incumbents aren't challenged in 85 percent of elections. They are allowed to coast into another term without having to explain how their offices have performed, Miller said.

McLennan County, Tx., District Attorney John Segrest has held his post longer than any other district attorney in local history–since 1990. The last time he was challenged was more than a decade ago. That will change next year, when Segrest will face an opponent in November. Even when prosecutor elections are contested, the campaigns tend to focus on trivial matters, said Ron Wright, a Wake Forest University law professor. “What they often talk about is single cases,” he said. “They talk about their lawyering skills and background. What you are far less likely to see is a discussion about the overall output of their office, their priorities.”

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