June 12, 2007
Susan Criss for Supreme Court

Via Texas Lawyer and BOR comes the formal announcement of Galveston Judge Susan Criss' candidacy for the State Supreme Court. I knew this was coming - I signed her petition a couple of weeks ago, at the Fort Bend Demcrats' barbecue - but it's still nice to see.

A few things to point out. One is that this is an eminently winnable race. Take a close look at how the downballot statewide races went last year compared to the top of the ticket. Where the choice for most voters was basically "generic Republican" versus "generic Democrat", due to a lack of name recognition and TV exposure, the Democrats did better. The gap isn't as wide as you think it is. Note also that a candidate who can win a bunch of newspaper endorsements can do even better, something which ought to be within range for Criss.

Two, based on 2004 results at least, Republicans seem to be more likely to vote for President but not downballot races than Democrats. Victor Carillo, Scott Brister, and Mike Keasler all lost at least 400,000 votes from George Bush's total that year, while Democrats Bob Scarborough, David Van Os, and JR Molina all had about the same vote total as John Kerry. In other words, the boost in Presidential year turnout may not help Criss' opponent, Phil Johnson, as much as it will Criss.

Third, to the best of my knowledge, the Dems will have a full slate of Supreme Court candidates next year, which is the first time they will be able to say that since 2002. The more candidates out there actually campaigning, the better. I'm not sure who the others are (and I wouldn't say if I could recall, since as far as I know they haven't declared), but they are judges themselves, so they'll be experienced jurists. Now if we could get an equal slate for the Court of Criminal Appeals, that would truly rock.

Finally, as we know we'll have an exciting Senate race to watch, too. As with the item above, having more candidates campaign is a Good Thing. A full slate also has the possibility to create a "Democrats are back" story line that may add a little momentum. I realize I'm deep into "intangibles" territory here, but after more elections than I can count with the wind in our faces, it's nice to contemplate such things.

Bottom line: I look forward to supporting Judge Criss as she makes her run for the Supreme Court. We need as many like her as we can get.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 12, 2007 to Election 2008

The gap grows wider in a presidential year. The average statewide loss for a down ballot Democrat in 2004 was 1,126,171.

Granted, 2008 is not going to be 2004. But even if Criss cuts that in half, she loses by 563,085 votes; if she reduces it by two thirds, she is short 371,636 votes.

No matter how you slice it, she won't be on the Supreme Court in 2009.

Battles need to be fought that can be won. No one remembers the Kamikaze Pilot, except for the fact that they all died.

Posted by: Aaron on June 13, 2007 11:54 AM