I’m going in order of the ballot, so the DA race will come in the middle of the judges. I’m adding hyperlinks as I have time to do so. See update for some judicial recommendations at the end, posted 10/25/14 and 10/27/14.
- Governor: Wendy Davis
- Lt. Governor: Leticia San Miguel Van de Putte
- Attorney General: Sam Houston
- Comptroller of Public Accounts: Mike Collier
- Commissioner of the General Land Office: John Cook
- Commissioner of Agriculture: Kenneth Kendrick (Green)
- Railroad Commissioner: Steve Brown
If you are a Republican, you would do very well to vote for these Democrats. The Republicans in these races are not the best your party has to offer, and don’t represent your values. Most refused to even talk to the newspaper editorial boards. Singularly dangerous would be a vote for Dan Patrick for Lt. Gov., as he confuses governance with the kind of no-no-no tantrums you’d expect from a four-year-old, not a grown person in elected office.
State Senate & House of Representative Races
Some I’d like to give particular attention to include:
- State Senate District 17: Rita Lucido – Rita has made this district competitive, campaigning every single day to offer voters in this district an alternative to an out-of-touch, barely visible incumbent.
- State Senate District 15: John Whitmire - my senator, and the Dean of the Senate.
- State Representative District 134: Sarah Davis, the incumbent, is a Republican. Last session, she sponsored legislation to have the blatant lie that abortion causes breast cancer removed from the state’s anti-abortion propaganda. She will likely win this race, so if there’s any R you might consider, this would be the one. Her opponent didn’t even bother to campaign, as far as I can tell. What a disappointment.
- State Representative District 148: Jessica Farrar – my representative, and an absolute rock for our district. She’s phenomenal.
Judicial Races – see update at the end, too
- District Judge, 113th: Steven Kirkland – talented, smart, and the target of all kinds of nasty campaigning.
- Family District Judge, 311th District: Sherri Cothrun – the incumbent in this race, who was appointed after the last judge in this court was allowed to resign before facing likely prosecution, has faced very serious charges of ethical violations that started the day she took the oath. Everyone has endorsed Sherri Cothrun – the Houston Bar Association, the Association of Women Attorneys, everyone. She deserves your vote, because this court deserves a judge with integrity and talent.
- District Attorney: Kim Ogg – VOTE FOR KIM because we desperately need a new regime and she’s a thoughtful, experienced, qualified candidate who will bring important, strategic change to this vital office.
- Judge, County Criminal Court No. 13: Jason Luong – Jason has been a friend since law school. Conscientious, intelligent, and very serious about applying the law fairly.
- County Clerk: Ann Harris Bennett – vote for Ann, whatever you do. Her opponent, the incumbent, has plagued us with his strategic incompetence. I mean, #FireStanStanard trends every single time an election happens. If you value the integrity of the ballot, vote for Ann, and tell your friends and family to do the same.
- County Treasurer: David Rosen
- County School Trustee, Position 5 At-Large: Debra “Debby” Kerner
- County School Trustee, Position 7 At-Large: Melissa Noriega – a great public servant who wants to make an impact to improve schools, help children, and drive positive change that will have an impact for years to come.
State Constitutional Amendment
- Prop 1: Vote FOR this amendment that will direct desperately needed funds to our transportation infrastructure. We can’t have a 21st century economy, as Leticia Van de Putte says, on the 19th century roads that the Republican administration seems to be fine giving us, like the places in south Texas where paved roads are being converted back to gravel roads because funding isn’t there and Republicans won’t allocate it. You know, south Texas, where our biggest oil boom is going on?
I’ll be frank. Especially in the judicial races, but in all races, reasonable people certainly can differ, so I won’t argue with anyone who disagrees on most of these. Some, however, I will argue with you about, because a few of the people running for office this time around are so heinous that I will think a little (or a lot) less of you if you vote for them. Sorry, but that’s the truth.
Again, to save time, you can vote the straight party option, Democrat, then skip ahead to Prop 1 (constitutional amendments don’t fall under the straight party option) and vote for it, and be done. You can also change a vote in a single race once you’ve voted straight ticket.
Whatever happens, please do vote. Government affects us every day. If I find out you didn’t vote (who you voted for is secret, but whether or not you voted is a matter of public record), I will not listen to a single complaint you have about government.
If you want to take a closer look at judicial races, you can consider endorsements from the Association of Women Attorneys or the Houston Bar Association poll. The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC has a very thorough screening process.
I finally talked to all of my lawyer friends (criminal, civil, & a few family and probate lawyers) who practice in the local courts and compiled their recommendations. It takes time to wrangle that crew. Several recommended a straight ticket vote, or explicitly said there’s nothing wrong with it, especially if paralysis over not knowing about all the candidates keeps someone from voting.
Here are the Republicans that others recommended, several of whom are the only candidates in their races. Unlike in prior years, I did not get any WHATEVER HAPPENS DO NOT VOTE FOR notes about any of the Democratic candidates who are challenging Republicans, so if you prefer to vote straight ticket and be done, go for it.
I did get universal consensus that Sherri Cothrun, the Democrat in the 311th, is a strong must-vote because of the ethics issues swirling around her opponent and because she is well-respected as a great attorney. Likewise, no one likes the way Steven Kirkland, the Democrat running for the 113th District Court, has been treated over the course of his various campaigns, and all recommended him strongly as a strong candidate.
If you’d like to mix it up a bit, hit your straight ticket D and then check into these races, which I’ve listed in the order they appear on the ballot:
- Supreme Court Pl. 6: Jeff Brown
- Supreme Court Pl. 8: Phil Johnson
- Court of Criminal Appeals Pl. 4: Kevin Patrick Yeary
- Court of Criminal Appeals Pl 9: David Newell
- 1st Court of Appeals Pl 5: Laura Carter Higley
- 14th Court of Appeals Pl. 4: Ken Wise
- 157th District Court: Randy Wilson
- 182nd District Court: Jeannine Barr
- 183rd District Court: Vanessa Velasquez
- 189th District Court: Bill Burke
- 190th District Court: Patricia Kerrigan
- 209th District Court: Michael McSpadden
- 228th District Court: Marc Carter
- 232nd District Court MaryLou Keel
- 245th District Court: Roy Moore
- 257th District Court: Judy Warne
- 270th District Court: Brent Gamble
- 295th District Court: Caroline Baker
- Family 310th District: Lisa Millard
- Family 312th District Court: David Farr
- Family 315th District Court: Michael Schneider
- Harris County Judge: Ed Emmett
- County Criminal #1: Paula Goodheart
- County Criminal #4: John Clinton
- County Criminal #5: Margaret Stewart Harris
- County Criminal 11: Diane Bull
- County Criminal 12: Robin Brown