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Filing report: Who is Ann Johnson?

On Friday afternoon, Annie’s List sent out an email to supporters naming some new candidates they’re supporting. One of the names given was Ann Johnson, who has filed to run in HD134, the first Democratic challenger to an incumbent Republican State Rep so far. A lot of us looked at that and said “Who’s Ann Johnson?” This is what the Annie’s List email says:

Ann is a respected attorney, law professor, cancer survivor and is no stranger to politics after having worked in both the Texas Legislature and the Clinton White House. She is the daughter of former State Representative Jake Johnson and former Judge Carolyn Marks Johnson. Today she manages the family’s law firm and represents plaintiffs in civil and criminal cases with a specialization in juvenile cases. In fact, she recently made statewide headlines after winning a landmark case in front of the Texas Supreme Court that helps protect children charged with prostitution.

The Republican incumbent, Sarah Davis, showed her true colors as a right-wing partisan when she voted for a budget that cut over $4 billion from Texas public schools; financial aid for 30,000 low-income students; basic healthcare for almost 300,000 women, almost $2 billion from nursing homes and more. Annie’s List believes that Ann Johnson is the right candidate to hold the incumbent accountable for her atrocious and out-of-step voting record and win by building a coalition of progressive and moderate voters that want a thoughtful, independent leader in Austin.

I would remind Annie’s List that Davis also voted for the initial House budget, which cut $8 billion from public education. Be that as it may, here’s Ann Johnson’s bio from her law firm’s page. Here’s a newspaper report and a Rick Casey column about cases she argued successfully; here’s a video of her before the Supreme Court in the latter case. She’s got an impressive resume, no question about it. Mostly at this point I’d say she needs to introduce herself to Democratic voters, as she doesn’t appear to have much of a recent history of activism. As a potential future constituent, I certainly plan to introduce myself to her.

In other news that affects my November ballot, we now have a challenger to SBOE member Terri Leo. Classroom teacher Patty Quintana-Nilsson, who left a comment on my post about SBOE races, has filed to challenge Leo. Her About Me page contains an early contender for Best Fact About A 2012 Candidate:

She is bilingual English/Spanish and has a good understanding of Swedish.

My college roommate’s best friend from back home in El Paso was half Mexican and half Swedish. This makes me happy in a way that I can’t quite articulate. Anyway, in other SBOE news, freshman member and Trinity University professor Michael Soto has filed for re-election, and according to the TDP, a fellow named Ruben Cortez Jr. has filed to succeed Mary Helen Berlanga in District 2. Cortez is Vice President of the Brownsville ISD Board of Trustees. No challenger yet for Republican freshman Charlie Garza in District 1.

The Trib has a pretty good guide to who has filed for what so far, if you’re as obsessive about that sort of thing as I am. There’s still a lot of races that lack candidates, but it’s early days yet. One last thing to add is that there is a third person looking at HD137, which is being vacated by Rep. Scott Hochberg, and that is Brandon Dudley, who is (I believe) State Sen. Rodney Ellis’ chief of staff, and was a judicial candidate in Harris County in 2010. None of the three reported candidates have filed yet.

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  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    I was told that Sarah Davis’s seat is in play under the new redistricting?

  2. Jj says:

    No it’s not. Waste of time. As if Roy Morales were challenging Carol Alvarado. Only a dingbat Republican would get excited over that. Similarly situated Dems will work themselves into a tizzy over this.

  3. Duhh says:

    JJ obviously hasn’t taken the time to look at the new district numbers before he opened up his mouth. The seat is in play given the right candidate. And it’s most certainly not on the same level as Carol or Gene Green’s token republican candidates.

  4. Bill K says:

    Is being a cancer survivor a required prerequisite for the HD 134 seat? Cohen and Davis both made a point of being cancer survivors in their campaigns and now we have the same with Ms. Johnson.

  5. JJ says:

    I am soooo sorry Mr. Duhh. You are so correct. The “right [Democrat] candidate” could indeed win HD 134.

    But it wouldn’t be anyone like Linda Chavez-Thompson, Barbara Radnofsky, Hector Uribe, Hank Gilbert, Jeff Weems, Jim Sharp, Bill Moody, Blake Bailey, or Keith Hampton. They all got stomped by 15-20 point margins. Even Rick Noreiga lost in 08 by 3 points despite Obama’s coattails. Something tells me that 2012 will not look much like 2008.

    I will concede, however that Bill White would most likely beat Sarah Davis in HD 134.

    Good luck with convincing that one, that only, that single “right” Democrat to get into the race.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    Duhh, Nice post. I am a little behind on what the Federal Judges did. I was told that since the federal judges redrew the district it is now leaning democrat. The map you posted is that pre-federal court or post federal court intervention? Also Bill, I am a cancer survivor should I run?

  7. Not really sure what you’re so angry about, JJ, but this is what the numbers have to say for HD134:

    Current map: Obama 49.1, Sam Houston 44.7, Susan Strawn 47.3

    Lege-drawn: Obama 46.5, Sam Houston 42.6, Susan Strawn 45.0

    Court-drawn: Obama 50.1, Sam Houston 46.2, Susan Strawn 48.5

    “Current map” is the one drawn in 2001. Clearly, the Republicans thought HD134 needed to be shored up a little for Sarah Davis, because that’s exactly what they did in their version. The interim map undoes that, and indeed makes HD134 a point more Democratic than it currently is. If HD134 had been a point more Democratic in 2010, Ellen Cohen would still be representing it. And for the record, Susan Strawn lost the court-drawn HD134 by 15 votes, 37,433 to 37,418. So I’d say that’s at least three Democrats who’d have a fighting chance to win it. Maybe, just maybe, there are a few more.

    It’s too early to say for sure whether 2012 will be like 2008 or not, though as I have noted before there’s nothing in the polling data we have so far to indicate otherwise. But it won’t be like 2010 for the simple reason that there isn’t a mass of non-habitual Republican voters to swarm the polls as there was last year. I expect HD134 to be a close, hard-fought race.

  8. JJ says:

    Oh, yes, I am the angry one. Not Duhh, who uses “obviously” and “hadn’t taken the time” and “opened up his mouth” and “certainly not on the same level.” Phrases all dripping with disdain and insult. I merely responded in kind. One year ago almost every Dem was beaten by 15 points in the judge-drawn 134th, but I am the one who didn’t look at the numbers?

    I find it very interesting that you want to toss out 2010 as some sort of aberration. But you want to hold out 2008 is a clear guide to what the “real” leanings of the district are. I would submit that an EXCELLENT campaign and broad appeal by President Obama (paired with a terrible McCain campaign and the Sarah Palin embarrassment) brought out the most Democrat voters ever and the fewest Republican voters ever, thus pushing Democrat candidates to their absolutely best possible performances in what is the judge-drawn 134.

    And I can’t believe the statement “a mass of non-habitual Republican voters to swarm the polls” is what you saw in 2010. Really? How can you say that about 134 when the judge-drawn 134 gave Bill White a 10 point win over Rick Perry? It also seems likely to me that the Obama-inspired voters of 2008 NOT showing up in 2010 was as much — and perhaps more — an issue than your perception of Republicans “swarming” the polls. Maybe you need to look into the makeup of 134 (even the newly drawn one) some more. I view it as a moderate Republican-leaning district with a lot of independents. Independents and moderate Republicans who feel comfortable voting for both Bill White and Sarah Davis. It is NOT a hard-core right-wing Republican area further west or northwest where there might have been the “swarming” that you were so disgusted by.

    Your description sounds more like it fits 2008, but you have to change Republican to Democrat.

    I agree that tons of stuff can happen from now to Nov 2012, but it seems like there are no signs right now that President Obama will be leading a Democrat surge in Harris County like he did in 2008. And that would be the only thing that would make a Democrat (who isn’t Bill White) able to win in 134.

  9. Paul Kubosh says:

    “And that would be the only thing that would make a Democrat (who isn’t Bill White) able to win in 134.”

    I disagree my bet is that if the Democrats want it they can get it. To be clear I am talking about the Federal Court redrawn district. Also the candidate will have to be competent. Sarah Davis is competent. I gave her a little money when she ran against Ellen Cohen. Ellen Cohen sent out a mailer linking her to us on the Red Light Camera issue. Later when we went to Austin to testify on a bill that the City was pushing about the Municipal Court she was on the committee that the bill was in and when I testified she acted like she didn’t know me while I was in front of her other colleagues. I have to admit it was heart warming. She really started to figure things out I guess.