for District Attorney
Williamson County has one of the lowest crime rates of any large county in Texas. In fact, there is a joke amongst the legal community that it is the place where you “come on vacation and leave on probation.” The 10-year incumbent District Attorney, Republican John Bradley, was considered the most tough-on-crime D.A. in the state, was named “Prosecutor of the Year,” and was the former head of the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association. First appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the post, Bradley secured the endorsements of nearly all prominent local elected Republicans for his re-election bid.
KC Strategies has represented the County Attorney, Jana Duty, since 2004 when she defeated a 12-year incumbent to secure the post. In 2012, she faced two challengers in the Republican Primary.
Rather than defend her position against opponents backed by courthouse insiders upset with her for rocking the boat, Duty instead chose to go on offense and set her sights on a challenge to John Bradley, a task most viewed as political suicide.
Duty’s benchmark poll indicated that Bradley held a 12-point lead with likely voters, mostly due to his name recognition, tough-on-crime reputation and support from high-profile state and local Republicans. But the poll also revealed that an astounding 72% of likely primary voters would turn against Bradley when they learned that he fought DNA testing of evidence that kept an innocent man, Michael Morton, in prison for 25 years for a murder he did not commit. This would become the cornerstone of Duty’s contrast message.
The goal of the Duty Campaign was to redefine the meaning of “tough on crime” to Republican voters in Williamson County. Rather than simply seeking convictions, a district attorney should seek the truth and seek justice. From the two broadcast television ads to a 5-minute web video to online ads to direct mail to door-to-door canvassing, that message was strong, clear and consistent for the duration of the race.
In spite of daily political threats from the party establishment, Jana Duty prevailed by 2,792 votes. Texas Monthly called the win one of the “biggest headlines from the primary”, and Duty became one of the first people in the nation to defeat an incumbent district attorney primarily on the DNA testing/exoneration issue.
To see the direct mail pieces KC Strategies produced on behalf of Jana Duty to compliment the TV and web ads, click on the .pdf links below.