Tarrant County Elections Administrator Heider Garcia is leaving his job after a meeting with County Judge Tim O’Hare revealed their difference in values, Garcia wrote in his resignation letter.
Garcia’s last day on the job will be June 23, according to the letter, dated April 16. He addressed the letter to County Administrator G.K. Maenius and O’Hare.
“Judge O’Hare, my formula to ‘administer a quality transparent election’ stands on respect and zero politics; compromising on these values is not an option for me,” Garcia wrote in the letter. “You made it clear in our last meeting that your formula is different, thus, my decision to leave. I wish you the best; Tarrant County deserves that you find success.”
Garcia has been elections administrator since 2018, and O’Hare started as county judge in January. Early in his tenure, O’Hare announced the creation of an Election Integrity Task Force, which is designed to prosecute election crimes, even though those crimes are rare and Garcia’s office has gotten high marks from the state for its quality and transparency.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill E. Waybourn, District Attorney Phil Sorrells and O’Hare said they did not consult Garcia about the task force.
This month, O’Hare told a crowd at a True Texas Project meeting that he planned to examine Garcia’s performance after the upcoming May 6 election, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
After the 2020 elections, Garcia endured death threats and racist attacks due to far-right conspiracy theories about him.
Since then, his fight against election misinformation has gained national attention. He has been notably transparent with voter fraud activists, tracking new conspiracy theories online to anticipate questions, giving tours to skeptics and offering in-person meetings, Votebeat reported. His patience with these questions was also featured on This American Life.
His job performance has been praised by former Secretary of State John Scott and O’Hare’s predecessor, former Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
KERA emailed Garcia and O’Hare’s office for comment.
O’Hare’s office responded with a statement: “As County Judge and Chair of the Tarrant County Election Commission, I want nothing more than quality, transparent elections in Tarrant County. Supporting the creation of an Election Integrity Task Force was all about quality, transparent elections. Mr. Garcia voluntarily resigned his position, and I wish him well in his future endeavors. I will be calling a meeting of the County Election Commission in the coming days to discuss the hiring of a new Elections Administrator.”
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