August 14, 2007
Who will run for the CCA?

Grits raises a question he's asked before, which is "Will we have good candidates to run for the Court of Criminal Appeals", also known as Texas' worst court?

Somebody with experience or name ID would be good, but in the general election at least it hardly matters. Think about the judicial and DA's races in Dallas in 2006 - a lot of those folks didn't expect to win, but by fielding candidates they were able to take advantage of opportunities provided by larger, macro-level national events. Judicial seats are downballot races, so candidates don't have to raise that much money, by comparison with other statewide seats, to become real players.

That will also be true in 2008. Certainly much will depend on who are the nominees at the top of the national ballot. But if, as in 2006, the general electorate trends especially Democratic because of national issues like the war, a campaign for these judicial seats against already weak incumbents could earn the party its first statewide officeholders in years.

The issues for the race are clear, the discontent abundant, but it's impossible to win without horses in the race. And hopefully not just placeholders unwilling to run a real campaign, but candidates of whom the Dems can be proud.

Unfortunately, as far as I know at this time, there are no prominent Democrats looking to take on this challenge. Which is both a shame and a bit of a puzzle, since there are multiple Supreme Court candidates out there. It can't be that much harder to win one seat as opposed to the other, though I suppose there might be more ready funds available for Supreme Court candidates.

Be that as it may, this is a huge opportunity that just can't be squandered. We've got a Senate candidate who could be a game changer at the top of the ticket. We've got a Presidential race that so far has mostly generated apathy and pessimism among Republicans, including those here in Texas. We've got a situation where a qualified candidate can be in position to sweep newspaper endorsements against any of the appalling incumbents who will be on the ballot, which could be enough of a boost in and of itself to put a Democrat over the top. We just need people who are willing to take the plunge.

I don't have any good answers for this, but maybe you do. Who would you like to see take a shot at the CCA? There's plenty of good judges out there, we just need a few of them to think about the possibilities. Let's name some names, and see what happens.

On a tangential note, I feel compelled to note that Grits' comparison to JR Molina's percentage in 2006 to Chris Bell's is a bit misguided. Bell had four opponents, while Molina was the only statewide Democrat to have just one. If you do a straight two-party comparison of the Governor's race, Bell got 43.3% of that vote, which is nearly identical to Molina's 43.5%. This doesn't contradict Grits' point in any way, I'm just quibbling with the numbers.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 14, 2007 to Election 2008

It's probably HARDER to win a Supreme Court seat because you have Bob Perry and the tort reformers throwing money at the race. Plus the CCA is more unpopular than the Texas Supremes, with a lot of high-profile bad rulings to point to. For those reasons, I think the first statewide Dem elected will be on the CCA, at least if Dems field any horses in the race. best,

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast on August 14, 2007 7:24 AM