District Attorney Race Heating Up - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

2/25/08 - San Augustine,Sabine Counties

District Attorney Race Heating Up

by Donna McCollum

On the surface the district attorney's race for San Augustine and Sabine Counties is no different from any other. Both men are putting out campaign signs and buying newspaper ads to convince voters they're the best man for the job. Kevin Dutton campaigns,  " I have 140 files in just these two counties in the last six years. My opponent has handled 40. I work. " The opponent, Skeet Des Champs campaigns,    " The whole concept in this race is experience. I believe I have it, more than enough. A quantity and Kevin doesn't."    

Now bring in East Texas politics. It involves a flyer that doesn't put Des Champs in a favorable light. Dutton says he doesn't have anything to do with it. The writer says it's all true. Des Champs says it's all lies. So where do you settle the dispute? The courthouse of course.

The writer is Jerry Cowgill who said,   " I'm not doing this to get people to vote for Mr Dutton. I'm doing this so people will not vote for Des Champs." Cowgill is mad that his 85 year old mother was threatened with a lawsuit by Des Champs. He even has it on tape. A portion of the tape has Des Champs saying, " If there's not a retraction of your letter signed by you in this week's paper, you leave me no alternative but to take you to court." Cowgill said his elderly mom wrote a letter to the editor. She was upset about attorney fees Des Champs collected when he worked for a local hospital. In this part of East Texas, sons stick up for their mom. Cowgill put an ad in the paper that said all sorts of bad things about Des Champs. Des Champs, who loved his mom for influencing him to go into law, responded with a libel lawsuit. Des Champs said,  " I intend on pursuing that suit and I know I will be successful because the allegations have been totally false and I can assure the people of Sabine and San Augustine counties that they are false. " Cowgill said he doesn't feel bothered because, " Everything I said is the truth."

Meanwhile, Kevin Dutton says he has nothing to do with the feud.  " I think I know some of the reasons why they're doing what they're doing. And it has nothing to do with me. " Des Champs seriously doubts that, but whose to say. The voters of course, who are having to contend with East Texas politics at his best.

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