A thirty-seven-year-old Corpus Christi attorney, who has never held public office, is looking to earn the Democratic Party nomination for the Nueces County Judge race.

Juan Reyna will be facing newcomer Clarissa Gonzalez in the March 2 Primary Election in a bid to represent the Democratic Party in November against Republican incumbent Loyd Neal.

Reyna and his wife, Christina, have been married for 14 years and have two children. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and he holds a bachelor's degree in history, as well as a master's degree in political science and history.

He has been practicing law in Nueces County for the past 10 years and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law-Houston. Reyna served as general counsel for the City of Alice from June 2004 to December 2006.

He has run for office once before, having an unsuccessful bid for the County Court at Law No. 3 seat as a Republican, but has since switched to the Democratic Party for this election season.

"I've always been bi-partisan in my life," he said. "I always felt, mainly, (like a) Democrat, so I never really saw it as a shift. When I look at all the enormous challenges that are facing Nueces County…that is what prompted me to enter into this race."

Reyna said he feels the county, under Neal's leadership, has missed numerous opportunities to work with District 27 U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz in order to seek federal funding for county projects. He used the lack of federal stimulus funds that came to the area as an example.

"I think if you look at the inability of this present administration to effectively work with Congressman Ortiz…I think you've seen a lot of missed opportunities in terms of the type of dollars that doesn't make it back into Nueces County," he said. "I believe it is the responsibility and the role of the county judge to go and compete and get those types of stimulus dollars. As an incumbent, you have to have a strong working relationship with your federal counterpart."

Reyna said he would also like to see more of an effort made to attract new businesses and homeowners to the Nueces County area. The local economy, he added,

"We've got to think outside the box," he said. "That Commissioners Court has to be absolutely committed to not just simply being caretakers of the county government, but it is to form an active and strong alliance with the business community."

Editors note: Reyna's opponent in the March 2 Primary Election, Clarissa Gonzalez, did not return repeated requests for an interview via calls to her campaign manager, Cinia Montoya, as well as an email sent through her Web site.