The November 2008 election has an extremely long ballot in Harris County. TCR endorses in every major race and spotlights the most important races on the ballot.
Further, if you evaluate both parties' tickets in Harris County it is clear the Republican ticket is better qualified, more experienced and best suited to handle our current challenges. It is also clear that the GOP judges by and large have done a great job. So the first suggestion is vote straight Republican.
Senate District 17
Joan Huffman is in the top of the ballot "jungle primary." SD 17 is a challenging district where the numbers are close with the Democrats. There are four Republican candidates. TCR has reviewed their backgrounds, records, philosophies and electability. Weighing the key factors, TCR believes that Joan Huffman is the conservative with the best chance to stop Democrat leader Chris Bell. Huffman's life story is inspiring. She is the secretary who became a top prosecutor and then a District Judge. Joan has proven in her career that she stands firm on conservative principals. We know she will again as State Senator. Whether it's illegal immigration, healthcare, education or taxes, Huffman will be on the right side for us. While serving as prosecutor and then Judge, she also made time to be a great wife and mother. Joan's distinguished career reflects the character we need in the Texas Senate in these challenging times.
John Cornyn has exceeded conservative expectations and is now a key leader in the U.S. Senate. With conservative leadership on such critical issues as the war on terror, immigration, runaway spending, he has had an extraordinary first term. His re-election is essential.
Pat Lykos is the original reformer serving 15 years as a criminal court judge. A former police officer, Lykos is an innovative problem solver having been active in dealing with the mentally ill, victims of domestic violence and anti-gang efforts. She is who we need running the District Attorney's Office. Her opponent with zero criminal court experience is a failed former Houston police chief with virtually no legal experience. He also was involved in the crime lab scandal and received a giant pension increase from his pal Mayor Lee Brown weeks before his retirement.
Since 2000 a Railroad Commission leader on energy solutions. One of the great officials in Texas.
State Board of Education, District 7
A conservative voice on education who has served the citizens of Texas well on the state board.
14th Court of Appeals, Chief Justice
A judge since 1992, outstanding in every way.
1st Court of Appeals, Place 3
An experienced civil, trial, and appellate lawyer who will be the kind of judge we expect from the Court of Appeals. Ed is well respected by his peers and will do a fine job.
1st Court of Appeals, Place 5
6 years on the court, has written 291 opinions, she is a clear thinker who understands the law. We need her badly.
55th District Court
An outstanding lawyer with broad experience who has been on the job for almost a year and is already respected by the bar as one of the top civil judges.
61st District Court
125th District Court
In his 9th year as judge and combined 30 years experience as an attorney, he has mediated over 1000 cases prior to being elected judge His opponent has only been a lawyer since 2000 with little civil trial experience.
129th District Court
151st District Court
164th District Court
Martha Hill Jamison
165th District Court
177th District Court
An outstanding judge and for over 10 years she was one of the top prosecutors including high profile cases. A judge since 2005 consistently highly rated.
178th District Court
No one on the ballot has the breadth of experience and community involvement. He is a leader at Houston's First Baptist Church. A former Deputy District Clerk, Court Coordinator, Assistant District Attorney, and private practice attorney.
190th District Court
Governor's appointment already on the job. In private practice she was a highly respected litigation attorney. She is a super attorney and will be a great judge.
215th District Court
Long time incumbent consistently highly rated. He gets high marks for outstanding demeanor. He is a pleasure to appear in front of as he cares deeply about people in his court. We need to keep him.
333rd District Court
Joseph Tad Halbach
338th District Court
Top rated criminal judge in county. The new "Ted Poe."
339th District Court
Innovative long time judge.
351st District Court
Mark Kent Ellis
Seasoned! Experienced judge worth keeping.
312th District Court
Board certified family law specialist and former Associate Judge.
A conservative leader for decades. As County Judge, he led the fight for lower property taxes, improved county ethics, and led Harris County out of the taxpayer hostile Texas Association of Counties. He was awesome leading the county during Ike.
Probate Court 1
An attorney for the Probate Court since 1999 and recently served as Associate Judge. She is board certified in Probate law. She has 17 years experience in the area and is supremely qualified. Her opponent is a foreign civil judge looking for a job and has virtually no probate experience on a docket that is highly specialized. A no brainer.
Hard working county attorney.
All the 59 Harris County Judges voted her in as District Clerk and she is already making a difference.
Longtime hard-working Sheriff, he does a good job making Harris County safe for everyone. His opponent has zero Sheriff department experience.
A taxpayer's best friend in Harris County, an innovative leader who brought his office into the 21st century and reduced his budget.
County Commissioner, Precinct 3
Long serving independent conservative who is the original Harris County Maverick, no one questions his dedication or effectiveness. His opponent is not qualified.
Justice of Peace, Precinct 5, Place 1
Incumbent JP who is doing a fine job and deserves another term.
Constable Precinct 5
There They Go Again: Best For Texas PAC
Incumbent doing a fine job; why change horses? Well-respected and a fair lawman.
(Janek-Blakemore-Furse) Tell Misleading
Half-Truths About Joan Huffman Again
TCR is absolutely stupefied. Politics as practiced by the above cabal has sunk to a new low.
The last few days seem more like a movie than reality. First, they lied about Joan Huffman's vacation days last week. Sunday, after spending $50,000+ in mail and internet costs spreading lies, they (Blakemore) issue a press release admitting the lies and Austen Furse on his own apologized to Joan Huffman in a meeting on Sunday night!
On Tuesday, they are at it again with an email and mailing accusing Joan Huffman of "signed probation deals for ... child molesters," with mug shots and descriptions of the cases. What they didn't tell you was the rest of the story. The Harris County District Attorney's office, based on their own evaluation of the cases, including interviews with the children, discussions with psychologists and doctors and an evaluation of the law and the facts, made these recommendations in the interest of the child victims. So, the prosecutors recommended the plea of guilty with probation. This placed the felon under the lifetime requirement to register as sex offenders and an extended closely supervised probation with strong conditions. Also, the children were spared from having to testify in a public courtroom. Joan Huffman understood the reason for the prosecutor's recommendation and accepted the plea bargain. Now you know the truth about Joan Huffman, she was a good judge and we can trust her to be a great senator.
As for the Janek funded Best of Texas PAC, they have already admitted to libel. The faux apologies are a cynical attempt to avoid responsibility for the trash campaign they are running. The latest polls TCR is familiar with show Furse in fifth place and on Tuesday, particularly because of the above shenanigans, Texans for Lawsuit Reform has endorsed Joan Huffman as their Republican choice in SD17. They have joined the majority of precinct chairmen and every major police and pro-law enforcement organizations. Don't be fooled by the lies and half-truths.
Ticket Splitting 101:
It's Easy and it Ensures a Full Down Ballot Vote
This TCR edition is focused on down ballot races with the ballot set to be multiple pages. Individual voting can be time consuming, but TCR has some ideas for you.
First, if you evaluate the tickets in Harris County, it is clear the Republican ticket is better qualified, more experienced and best suited to handle our current challenges. It is also clear that the GOP judges by and large have done a great job. So the first suggestion is vote straight Republican.
Second, TCR is aware of voters who want to split their ticket, but vote down ballot for the superior Republican candidates. The good news, it is simple and quick. You first vote straight Republican, and then go to the individual races you want to switch and select your choice. In this way, you vote down ballot Republican and also vote for any opposing candidate you prefer.
A full down ballot vote is critical as traditionally there is a significant vote drop-off from the top of the ballot to the bottom. Don't deprive the quality GOP down ballot candidates your vote, they need it.
Important Clarification in SD 17
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt has issued a letter, TCR has seen it and he has not endorsed anyone in the SD 17 race and that one candidate has an authorized statement from Mr. Bettencourt. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones. Airing weekly on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8. This week, the Harris County Judge faceoff - Ed Emmett (R) v. David Mincberg (D). Coming on October 31, a double shot, Harris County District Attorney - Judge Pat Lykos v. C.O. Bradford (D) and U.S. House District 7 - John Culberson (R) v. Michael Skelly (D).
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twelfth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last seven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.