HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Christian Menefee, 32, is now the youngest and first African American elected as Harris County Attorney.
Harris County already has young minorities serving in key leadership positions like County Judge Lina Hidalgo, 29, and appointed Interim County Clerk Chris Hollins, 34.
Menefee has never served in public office before but on Tuesday, he defeated his Republican opponent, John Nation, by nearly 10 points.
"It’s a beautiful thing and I think it speaks to the diversity here in Harris County and how they’re willing to trust us," Menefee said.
For the next four years, Menefee will represent Harris County in all civil matters including protecting neighborhoods, shutting down illegal enterprises and working with flood control.
"They can play as much or as little of a role as really the County Commissioner wants them to. There is some autonomy for independent action and I think Menefee will very much be in sync with County Judge Lina Hidalgo so I suspect working together, they’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit, even if it’s resisted quite a bit by both the Republicans on the Commissioner’s Court," said Rice University political analyst, Mark Jones.
Jones believes Menefee and County Judge Lina Hidalgo may work well together with similar, progressive ideologies.
Hidalgo was elected to office in 2018, unseating long-time Republican Ed Emmett.
Hidalgo and Menefee are much closer in age than Vince Ryan, who had served as the previous county attorney since 2008.
Menefee defeated Ryan during the March primaries.
"When Menefee won the Democratic primary, he effectively locked in becoming the next county attorney. This past election yesterday was just a pure formality and rubber stamping his victory," Jones said.
Both of Menefee's parents served in the Armed Forces. Spending most of his formative years in Houston, Menefee said he’s looking forward to serving his hometown community starting in 2021.
"I just want to be able to help people. Again, I come from a regular, working class family. I know there were many issues we dealt with growing up – whether it be economically or social safety net that I wanted to fight for other people to have. I'm not going to wake up January 1 and all of a sudden, try to get to the work of the people of Harris County, but instead, that’s something I’ve been building upon for months now," Menefee said.
Menefee currently works as litigator at a firm in Houston.
Although having stayed up late Tuesday night to watching election results unfold, Menefee said he was up early Wednesday morning to meet with officials from the county attorney’s office to begin the transition process.
Menefee will takeover as Harris County Attorney in January.