DMP and I voted early last week and since then two friends (one from the extreme right and one from the extreme left) sought my advice to vote "the down ballot." By that they meant the judicial races for Houston and Harris County. So I will make no comment about any of the offices at the top of the ballot other than to plead that no one should ever vote a straight ticket in the state of Texas. Our judges are elected by the people and it is our duty to be sure that the women and men we select to sit in judgement are well qualified and just. Since few voters bother with looking at each judicial candidate, those straight tickets throw out good judges and sometimes elect very bad ones. In elections that swing from red to blue or from blue to read, the wholesale scrambling of the courts leads to disruption and delay.
So here are my ballot notes:
For the Texas Supreme Court, Justice, Place 7, I voted for Gina Benavides, an excellent , well- qualified judge whose proven voice and temperament will bring balance to the court.
I follow the judiciary pretty closely and there are three incumbent Republicans who did not get my vote in the primary because they are, in my opinion, unjust and my vote is to remove them from the bench:
- Jan Krocker in the 184th Judicial District where I voted for Mark Thering;
- Charley Pinner in the 246th Judicial District where I voted for Sandra Peake;
- and Jim Wallace in the 263rd Judicial District where I voted for Herb Ritchie.
John F. Phillips is much worse than unjust; he is the dictionary definition of a bad judge and has been on the bench far too long. Despised by informed voters from both right and left through several election cycles, he has done untold damage to Texas children and their families. For Family Judge in the 314th Judicial District I voted for Natalia Oakes; any straight ticket Republican voter should at the very least scroll down and get rid Phillips, a blight on the face of justice.
They should also consider a vote for Sherri L. Cothrun for Family Judge in the 311th Judicial District because she is one of the most outstanding judges currently presiding.
Straight ticket voting Democrats should scroll down the ballot and choose Brent Gamble in the 270th Judicial District. I'd hire James Hippard, Jr. as my attorney but he lacks judicial temperament.
Texas is a very Republican state and that is reflected in the party affiliation of our judges e.g. most incumbent judges are Republicans and I voted for most of them. However there were a few races where I found the Democrat to be better qualified: in the 280th Judicial District I voted for Barbara J Stalder because of her work with violence against women; and in County Criminal Court No. 5 my vote went to Linda Geffin in appreciation of her work to stop human trafficking although Larry Standley in that race is also well qualified. In County Criminal Court No. 14 I voted for David L. Singer.
While these Democrats did not get my vote, I am noting their names here because they are well qualified (just running against equally well qualified Republicans) and I'm hoping for an opportunity to put them into one of our courts in the future: Kay Morgan, Randy Roll, Greg Glass, Tanner Garth, Deryl Moore, Kathy Vossler, Kim Bohannon Hoesl, Josefina Rendon, and Jerry Simoneaux.
The other "down ballot" races relate to education, an issue near and dear to me. Since the Republicans offered no reasonable candidates, my vote went to Lawrence A. Allen State Board of Education District 4 and to Debra "Debbie" Kerner County School Trustee Postion 5 at large and to Melissa Noriega County School Trustee Position 7 at large. Noriega is such a good choice, she's another place that the straight ticket voter should be scrolling down to check.
I voted FOR Proposition 1.
If you read this entire post, you earned the right to know just how I split my vote:
- Rep. John Cronyn for the Senate. I like him. If the Senate goes Republican majority, it will be good to have Texas in a power position. Oh, how I miss you Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
- Dem. Al Green for my US Representative.
- Rep. Greg Abbott (with a lot of reservations) for Governor. I seriously considered Wendy Davis and followed her campaign closely but...
- Dem. Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Gov. because of her proven ability to work across party lines and, as a Houstonian, I despise Dan Patrick. He will never have my vote for any office.
- Dem. Sam Houston for Attorney General because I think Paxton is a crook and when the GOP screws up their primary I can and will vote for a qualified Democrat.
- Dem. Mike Collier for Comptroller because we need competence and not politics managing our money.
- Rep. George P Bush for Commissioner General Land Office.
- Rep. Sid Miller for Commissioner of Agriculture.
- Rep. Ryan Sitton for Railroad Commissioner. This race is not about railroads; it's about oil.
- with the exception of Gina Benavides, my Texas Supreme Court votes went to the Reps.
To quote Reinhold Niebuh:
"The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world."