Researching Candidates for Judicial Positions: How to investigate candidates and other RINO hunting activities

The deadline for filing for Judicial Office is fast approaching. This means you will see on the Harris County Republican Website a complete list of all candidates running for each of the judicial positions. That is the springboard for examining potential choices for your personal ballot. That same site will give information that the candidate has provided for their respective web sites, Facebook pages, and e-mail addresses. Many of the candidates will be participating in contested primary elections. The majority of the contested elections are those where there is not a Republican incumbent, but there are exceptions. All judges and judicial candidates (except for the Supreme Court and Justice of the Peace) must be an attorney before they become a judge, so don’t let that be a stopping point for your review. This of course includes those judges and judicial candidates that were “Obamarized”. There are other bloggers that will be creating comparison and informational sites on the candidates such as “Big Jolly Politics” by David Jennings, a non-commercial and informative site. There are others who print commercial newsletters with “ads” for sale to the candidates and include their recommended “slates,” such as the Texas Conservative Review by TexasGOPVote blogger Gary Polland or The Link Letter by Terry Lowry. A slate is a list of candidates that are recommended by the author as the most qualified person in each race.

There are additional slates associated with other groups such as the “C-Club”, “The Houston Realty Business Coalition”, “The United Republicans” and the “GOPac”. One of the longest running slates is the “Conservative Republicans of Harris County” authored TexasGOPVote blogger Dr. Steven Hotze.

The Harris County Republican Party however, is not in the endorsement business, or slate business, because the Republican Party believes in an “open primary” and the bi-laws strictly prohibit “the county party from endorsing candidates in contested primaries”. You should be particularly concerned with any candidate who touts they were endorsed in a contested Republican Primary by the County Republican Party or any of its leadership.

This brings us to the subject of reviewing the individual’s campaign information, everything from their stated positions to their endorsements.

(a) Does the candidate depict a broad base appeal? Do those who endorse the candidate have varied experiences, such as: business leaders and elected Republican positions? Is there a good representation of Republican Precinct Chairs, former Republican leaders, Conservative Republican groups such as “C-Club”, and “Texans for Lawsuit Reform” and others? Are there other persons representing areas of expertise that are basic to the performance of the job the candidate seeks?

(b) Has the candidate earned special recognition in their chosen area of expertise? Board Certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is a distinct honor bestowed on a small percentage of practicing attorneys. The Martindale-Hubbell Group also rates attorneys on their skill and experience. Look for these honors in the candidates resume.

(c) Is the statement of experience consistent with the stated expectations for the job that the candidate promises to perform? What do they say they will do and how has their past experience translated into making that promise seem real?

(d) Has that candidate not only talked the talk but also walked the walk for the party and for conservatives? Experience is a big part of getting the job, but if you have more than one qualified individual in a race you are also going to want the individual that you can rely on representing your party and your conservative views, because they have done so in the past in other ways. Have they paid their dues? Have they helped other candidates? Have they been there for the tough debates and decisions? Have they invested time, sweat, and tears? It is important for you to know if the candidate is merely here for a job or to improve their resume.

If you are reading this I have to imagine that you have either paid your dues or are embarking on a new found passion to get conservatives back into your life and the liberals out of it. The success of a candidate may very well depend on the individual candidate appealing to you to the point you recognize their name. Judicial candidate have often been elected on the strength of the slate that endorses them because of the sheer size of Harris County. For positions that receive broad scale media attention or races for smaller geographic areas such as your local state representative or Justice of the Peace, the candidate can make a greater impact. A judicial candidate has money constraints, a large geographic area to cover, and difficulty in separating from the herd of other Republican Judicial Candidates. The Harris County Judicial ballot alone (the down ballot) is larger than four northern states entire ballot pasted together. If you have been to the Judicial Signing Party for incumbent judges and gotten a cramp in your back from signing petitions in mostly non-contested races you can appreciate how that 52-person field can easily grow into 80+ with the contested races. For all you embarking on this massive but important search for good conservative judges, do your homework. See you out there.


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