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Reform group asks voters to remember judicial races

November 4, 2014
SE Texas Record
Marilyn Tennissen

During this election season, the race for governor and the millions of dollars candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis have spent on their campaigns have captured most of the media attention.

But often-overlooked judiciary races are equally important, according to Sherry Sylvester, executive director of Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

“Personal injury trial lawyers have been relentless in their efforts to return Texas to the days when our state was the ‘lawsuit capitol of the world.’ They spend more than any other single business, profession or industry on Texas political campaigns,” Sylvester said in an email to the Record.

Although the TLR PAC is a bi-partisan organization, Sylvester said that too often in the state’s major metropolitan areas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Beaumont and Corpus Christi, trial court judges have been “hand-picked” by personal injury trial lawyers.

“For that reason, in this election, we have urged voters to support Republican trial judges and candidates in those counties,” she wrote.

That includes Jefferson County, where TLRPAC has endorsed Republican Rick Williams for judge of the 172nd Judicial District Court. He is fighting to take the bench from Democrat Donald Floyd, who has served in that post since 1989.

Floyd has run unopposed in most of elections over the 25 years he has been on the bench. But this year, several of the county’s biggest law firms that do business in Floyd’s court have poured thousands of dollars into his campaign.

Sylvester said there are also several incumbents on the Texas Supreme Court that have challengers this year.

“The Texas Supreme Court is one of the most respected courts in the nation,” she said. “TLR PAC strongly supports the re-election of the three incumbents running for the Texas Supreme Court who have contested races – Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Justice Jeff Brown and Justice Jeff Boyd.”

She also mentioned several races to watch in various Courts of Appeals throughout the state, and encourages Houston voters to support Kem Thompson Frost and Ken Wise on the 14th Court and Russell Lloyd on the 1st Court.

“In San Antonio, Justice Sandee Bryan Marion is the best choice for Chief Justice,” she said.

The PAC also supports Craig Stoddart for the 5thCourt in Dallas and Jeff Rose for the 3rd Court in Austin.

“Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC supports principled and independent judges who follow the Constitution and the plain words of Texas law.  Our goal is to assure that Texas courts remain fair, predictable and balanced,” she said.