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Commissioner Eckhardt tests waters for run at Travis County Judge

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TWC News: Commissioner Eckhardt tests waters for run at Travis County Judge
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There haven't been any formal announcements by candidates running for Travis County Judge in 2014, but at least one person is strongly considering it.

That person is not former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, who denied initial speculation he would be a candidate. In a press conference Wednesday, he said he had been approached by people asking him to run, but decided against it.

"I'm going to be very honest with you. The challenge is very appealing," Barrientos said. “Your confidence and your support is humbling, but I choose not to run for County Judge in 2014."

Instead he threw his support behind a current Travis County Commissioner.

"I ask you to join me in urging our County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt to run for county judge," Barrientos said.

While Eckhardt cannot formally announce until she resigns from Commissioner's court, she did share her priorities for the county.

"Probably the biggest issue that we're facing right now is a widening gap between those who are prospering and those who are not,” Eckhardt said. “Right now, we are hovering between 18 and 19 percent poverty rate, which is higher than the national average."

Eckhardt said voters need to pay attention to other issues at stake as well.

"We've got to have sustainable water sources. We've got to have a transportation service that includes transit for the entire region. We've got to have emergency medical services," she said.

As for labeling her a candidate, that still may be months away, giving Eckhardt and other potential candidates plenty of time to gather momentum before officially throwing their hats in the ring.

Voters will pick the next Travis County Judge in May of 2014.

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