Elizabeth Frizell lost the 2018 Democratic primary to John Creuzot by 589 votes.
After narrowly losing the race for Dallas County district attorney in 2018, former state judge Elizabeth Frizell once again is challenging John Creuzot in the Democratic primary race.
Frizell and Creuzot are the only candidates so far to file with the local Democratic party. Monday is the filing deadline. The local Republican party did not respond Thursday about whether anyone has filed for the GOP primary.
Frizell lost by 589 votes to Creuzot, also a former state district judge who is serving his first term as district attorney. She filed a lawsuit shortly after the election alleging voter fraud. The suit was dismissed in December 2018.
Neither Frizell nor Creuzot could be reached Thursday for comment.
Creuzot outraised and outspent Frizell, who ran a largely grass-roots campaign. She got a late boost from civil rights activist Shaun King in the weeks leading up to the March election and garnered more votes on Election Day than Creuzot. But it wasn’t enough to offset Creuzot’s early and mail-in votes.
King acknowledged afterward that his support came too late.
“We were literally only on the ground in Dallas for a month,” King said then. “We did our best in that month, but we must be on the ground earlier in a race like that.”
Frizell and Creuzot ran on similar platforms. They pitched reforming the criminal justice system by focusing more on rehabilitation than incarceration and by strengthening the office’s conviction integrity unit.
Creuzot supported the release this year of Ben Spencer, who spent 34 years in prison for a 1987 deadly robbery that he’s always denied being involved with. Creuzot agreed that Spencer did not get a fair trial because of revelations that witnesses lied and prosecutors withheld evidence. Creuzot has not said whether he will retry Spencer.
Creuzot took office in January 2019 and almost immediately acted on a campaign promise to change the office policy on prosecuting marijuana cases. The office stopped taking most first-time misdemeanor marijuana cases because, Creuzot said, data shows police disproportionately arrest Black people for marijuana offenses even though national studies have show people of most races use marijuana at similar rates.
The office also no longer prosecutes theft of personal items worth less than $750, the value of stolen items that under state law is at most a Class B misdemeanor. The change was intended to decriminalize poverty, Creuzot said.
His early policy changes drew swift criticism from law enforcement unions and state leaders including Gov. Greg Abbott, who accused him of stoking crime.
Frizell was elected to a misdemeanor court in 2006 and a state district felony court in 2014. She presided over that court, Criminal District Court 7, until her resignation in 2017 to run for district attorney. She ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for the state Court of Criminal Appeals.