Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo calls challenger Alexandra del Moral Mealer over safety issues

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — A news conference about a new Harris County crime prevention initiative took a turn after Judge Lina Hidalgo turned her focus to her upcoming opponent.

This was the moment a press conference with Hidalgo about a new safety program took a turn as she laughed and visibly trembled.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Hidalgo. “Honestly, you have to laugh. Defund when you see that surge? We should be laughing, and someone running off with a ridiculous lie.”

WATCH: ‘It’s a lie!’ What got Harris Co. Judge Hidalgo upset?

That moment came after Hidalgo highlighted Safe Harris. It’s a $150 million program over the next four years.

During the event, we also received new figures from December 13, 2021, showing how extra money for overtime has enabled lawmakers to seize 279 guns, clear 1,303 warrants and make 1,006 arrests on new charges. The money is helping now, but Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he asked for it earlier.

“We’re definitely grateful for the resources we’re receiving,” Gonzalez said. “We could absolutely use more.”

Hidalgo said two-thirds of the new county budget will be spent on law enforcement. She has committed millions more to programs and raised salaries to help prosecutors recruit.

PREVIOUS STORY: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is being challenged within her own party

These are numbers she used to attack her opponent during the press conference.

“It’s a lie, a defunding. And you’re violating our law enforcement and you’re violating our democracy when you’re willing to spread lies,” Hidalgo said.

ABC13 asked her opponent Alexandra del Moral Mealer about it.

“Their morale is down, not because I said they weren’t funded properly,” del Moral Mealer said. “It’s because of their actions. She broke our criminal justice system and is now passing the blame.”

SEE MORE: Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo suggests DA Kim Ogg may have ‘charged’ her as a political ploy

Del Morale Mealer runs against Hidalgo. She’s excited about the increased spending from law enforcement, but wonders how it’s panned out in recent years.

“The word defunding is too offensive,” del Morale Mealer said. “What I would say is very simple: ‘Lina, you are against law enforcement. You have not assisted our law enforcement. You created a revolving door in the courthouse, and during COVID, your answer to things was, ‘Let’s release a thousand people from our prison.'”

This is a public security debate that is expected to continue for the next few months leading up to the election.

For updates on this story, follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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https://abc13.com/lina-hidalgo-harris-county-judge-2022-houston-election-alexandra-del-moral-mealer/12135356/ Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo calls challenger Alexandra del Moral Mealer over safety issues

Dais Johnston

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