Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Major changes coming to Houston Courts of Appeals thanks to Nov. 2018 General Elections: Republican Incumbents Defeated

BIG ELECTION-DRIVEN TURNOVER 
COMING TO APPEALS COURTS IN HOUSTON 

Seat of Houston Courts of Appeals in the historic Harris County Courthouse

Based on preliminary election results reported by the Texas Secretary of State, all Republican incumbents on the First and Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston who ran for reelection this year have lost their jobs effective December 31, 2018 even though the Republican incumbents on the state's highest appellate courts--the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals--were reelected. The latter are elected statewide while the members of the Houston-based appellate courts are elected from an appellate district comprising Harris County and nine surrounding counties. All current incumbents on the Houston-based courts of appeals were elected or appointed as Republicans. Their terms will expire December 31, 2018.


OUT ON THE FIRST COA: Justice Jane Bland (R), Justice Harvey Brown (R), Justice Michael Massengale (R), and appointed Justice Jennifer Caughey (R), who stood for election for the first time, rather than running for reelection. Justice Terry Jennings, elected as a Republican, quit the Republican Party in 2016 and did not seek reelection in 2018.

IN: Gordon Goodman (D), Sarah Beth Landau (D), Julie Countiss (D)(defeating Republican Terry Yates in an open race), Richard Hightower (D), Peter Kelly (D).


First Court of Appeals Races - Election Results 

OUT ON THE FOURTEENTH COA: Justice Brett Busby (R), Justice Marc Brown (R), Justice Martha Hill Jamison (R), Justice Bill Boyce (R), Justice John Donovan (R)

IN: Jerry Zimmerer (D), Charles Spain (D), Frances Bourliot (D), Meagan Hassan (D), Margaret “Meg” Poissant (D)

Fourteenth Court of Appeals Races - Election Results 
Democrats also swept Republican incumbents out of the Harris County courthouse. The trial court judges (district and county court judges) are elected from election districts coextensive with Harris County. Justices of the Peace (JPs) are elected from precincts and less affected by larger partisan shifts. 

Some judicial incumbents' time will be up come
at the end of 2018. Not all sitting district judges were up for re-election this year. 

NOV. 6, 2018 VOTING PATTERN IN HARRIS COUNTY

The straight-party vote for Democrats in Harris County was 55.25% against 44.12% for the Republicans. Libertarians made up the tiny difference. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke attracted 57.86% of the vote in Harris County against only 41.42% for Ted Cruz.

Republican incumbents on the Texas Supreme Court (Justices Jeff Brown, John Devine, and recent appointee Jimmy Blacklock) would have lost by wide margins had they been elected from Harris County only.

In the SCOTX races, Democratic challengers Steven Kirkland, R.K. Sandill, and Kathy Cheng all pulled more than 55% of the votes in the county. Kirkland and Sandill are currently serving as District Judges in Harris County and were not up for reelection this year.

STATEWIDE VOTE IN SCOTX RACES VS HARRIS COUNTY ONLY 
REP John Devine: 53.72% statewide vs. 43.61% in Harris County
DEM R.K. Sandill: 46.27% statewide vs. 56.39% in Harris County
REP Jeff Brown: 53.72% statewide vs. 44.90% in Harris County
DEM Kathy Cheng: 46.27% statewide vs. 55.10% in Harris County
REP Jimmy Blacklock: 53.14% statewide vs. 43.40% in Harris County
DEM Steven Kirkland: 46.85% statewide vs. 56.60% in Harris County 
Voting in judicial races is mostly a party affair. Candidate-specific attributes appear to have made little difference at the statewide level, and only a small difference in Harris County, where the two Democratic candidates who have substantial judicial experience pulled more votes than the one who does not. Because Harris County is competitive, however, relatively small differences in votes can make all the difference in the outcome in district and county-bench races. Not in this midterm election, however, in which the margins were large both for Republicans (at the statewide level) and for the Democrats (in Harris County and first and fourteenth appellate district races).

Nov. 6, 2018 Election results for Texas Supreme Court races in Harris County
Nov. 6, 2018 Election results for Texas Supreme Court races in Harris County 
2018 ELECTION RESULTS FOR CIVIL BENCHES IN HARRIS COUNTY
EXCLUDING FAMILY, JUVENILE, AND PROBATE COURTS 

CIVIL DISTRICT COURT RACES IN HARRIS COUNTY (CIVIL TRIAL DIVISION EXCLUDING FAMILY COURTS)

55th DC: Republican Incumbent Jeff Shadwick lost to Latosha Lewis Payne 45.29% vs 54.71

113th DC Republican Incumbent Michael Landrum lost to Rabeea Collier 45.10% vs. 54.90

157th DC Republican Incumbent Randy Wilson lost to Tanya Garrison 44.84% vs. 55.16

190th DC Republican Incumbent Debra Ibarra Mayfield lost to Beau Miller 45.63% vs 54.37

234th DC Republican Incumbent Wesley Ward lost to Lauren Reeder 44.46% vs. 55.54

269th DC Republican Incumbent Dan Hinde lost to Cory Sepolio 45.12% vs 54.88

270th DC Republican Incumbent Brent Gamble lost to Dedra Davis 44.93% vs 55.07

281st DC Republican Incumbent Sylvia Matthews lost to Christine Weems 45.23% vs. 54.77

295th DC Michelle Fraga lost to Donna Roth 43.79% vs 56.21

Current Harris County Civil Division District Court Judges 

COUNTY CIVIL COURT-AT-LAW RACES IN HARRIS COUNTY

CCCL1 Democratic Incumbent George Barnstone won over Clyde Raymond Leuchtag, a former appointed judge of this court who attempted a comeback ,with 55.12% of the vote vs. 44.88 for Leuchtag, a Republican.

CCCL2 Dem Jim F. Kovach defeated Rep Erin Swanson 56.145 to 43.86. Incumbent Theresa Chang had previously lost her reelection bid in the Republican primary.

CCCL3 Republican Incumbent Linda Storey lost to Democrat LaShawn A. Williams 54.41 to 45.59.

CCCL4 Dem. William “Bill” McLeod defeated Rep. Sophia Mafrige 54.80% to 45.20.

The electorate did not heed the call: Republican Judges routed
Oh, the (post-election) irony 
The electorate did not heed the call: Republican Judges routed 




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