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Alexandra del Moral Mealer (left) and incumbent County Judge Lina Hidalgo.Four years ago, a 27-year-old Colombian-born graduate student shocked the Houston political establishment by unseating County Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County’s top elected official. Emmett, a moderate Republican running for his fourth term, had won bipartisan praise for leading the county through Hurricane Harvey the previous year. He was expected to cruise to victory against Democrat Lina Hidalgo, a little-known political novice who was taking a break from her graduate work (a joint law and public policy degree from NYU and Harvard) to run for office in the county where she attended high school. Hidalgo wasn’t the youngest person to become Harris County judge—Roy Hofheinz, best known as the mastermind behind the Astrodome, was elected at the age of 24—but she was the first woman and…

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