The enduring mystery of Lawrence Meyers

People are still speculating about why the enigmatic CCA Judge switched parties.

Judge Larry Meyers

Judge Larry Meyers

Lawrence “Larry” Meyers did something last year that no other politician in Texas has done in nearly two decades: He became a statewide Democratic officeholder.

As Democrats gather in Dallas this week for their state convention, Meyers — a Court of Criminal Appeals Judge who left the GOP to run for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court as a Democrat this year — may be a name frequently mentioned.

“It was an unusual move,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, said of Meyers’ party switching.

“He’s either a maverick, reacting based upon his personal assessments and personal beliefs, or he sees a long-term political trend, a change in Texas politics coming.”


Demographers predict that Texas, now solidly Republican, will shift back to the left at some point.

As that occurs, they foresee that Democrats will slowly begin reclaiming posts they haven’t held in years — since John Sharp was comptroller, Dan Morales was attorney general, Bob Bullock was lieutenant governor, Pete Laney was House Speaker and Ann Richards was governor.

The question is when that will happen.

If Meyers made the right decision, and switched to the Democratic Party as it readies for a revolution, he could ride the wave and be considered a leader in the party.

But his switch alone doesn’t signify that the Democratic revolution is near.

“Democrats are going to have to win statewide before they can say they’ve turned that tide,” [Mike Hailey, editor and publisher of Capitol Inside] said. “They haven’t done that yet.”

We’ve speculated before about Meyers’ motives, but he still hasn’t said anything so your guess and mine continue to be all we’ve got. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that he’s looking for something different. He was planning to challenge Sharon Keller for Presiding Judge of the CCA in the 2012 GOP primary, but apparently decided against it, perhaps because it would have been too contentious or he became convinced he couldn’t win. At least this way he gets to be on the ballot in November, and if he loses he’ll get another shot in 2016. If my guess is right, perhaps he’ll file for a Supreme Court bench again. It’s not crazy to think he might have a better shot winning as a Dem than he did winning a GOP primary against a colleague, even if you don’t think much about his chances as a D. Anyway, that’s my guess. There may be other reasons, in addition to or instead of the ones I’ve suggested, but until he decides to talk about it, that’s the best we can do.

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