Back in March and April, I noted certain realities about the resignation of corrupt and incompetent judge of the 311th Family District Court, Denise Pratt -- namely that with her name remaining on the ballot for the May runoff, she could still become the GOP nominee for that bench.
Yeah, that's right -- Denise Pratt could still beat Alicia Franklin on May 27. That would mean that Pratt would be the nominee for her old bench. She could always run a campaign and win in November, and claim vindication.
But that isn't the only option out there. Let me offer up all the scenarios out there if Denise Pratt wins the nomination on May 27. You see, a fellow Republican and I actually spent some time on Sunday afternoon considering the possibilities.
- Pratt wins the runoff, wins the November election, and serves as judge.
- Pratt wins the runoff, wins the November election, and immediately announces her intent to not serve -- meaning that the governor would appoint a new judge who would serve until a special election in 2014.
- Pratt wins the runoff and becomes ineligible -- whether through indictment or a move outside the county (or, less likely, disbarment, surrender of her law license, a declaration of incompetence, renunciation of her citizenship, or death) -- allowing the party to replace her as a candidate on the November ballot. This new nominee need not be Alicia Franklin -- or even one of the other candidates from the March primary.
And as I also noted, Pratt had texted supporters to urge Dr. Steve Hotze, the proprietor of one of the major pay-to-play slates of the sort the Harris County GOP condemned back in February, to not swing his endorsement to her runoff opponent, Alicia Franklin -- despite the supposed suspension of the Pratt campaign.
While Pratt assured everyone that she really wasn't running a campaign, it is interesting to note how Hotze's slate dealt with the race for the 311th when the runoff edition was mailed out.
One race conspicuously lacks an endorsement -- the one in which a judge who resigned under the terms of a plea deal has suspended her campaign and then urged her supporters to make sure he didn't endorse her runoff opponent!
Which leads us to the situation found at three of the major early voting locations as we approach the runoff.
Campaign signs urging voters to "Re-elect Denise Pratt" have popped up outside at least three early voting locations this week, more than two months after the family court judge announced her immediate resignation and the suspension of her re-election campaign – later revealed to be part of a deal with the Harris County District Attorney to avoid indictment.
"It's very puzzling," said local Republican activist Joseph McReynolds, who was handing out mailers for the Spring Branch Republicans outside the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center on West Gray, where there were 18 Pratt campaign signs on Thursday, including a row of nine along the street leading up to the driveway. Pratt signs also were found at early voting locations in Kingwood and George Bush Park in west Houston.
Pratt's attorney, Terry Yates, is doing his best impression of Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes -- "We have no knowledge of that."
Personally, I don't believe Yates for a second. Even assuming he is ignorant of this matter, I'm as certain as I can be without verbal confirmation that Denise Pratt knows all about it.
So yes, I'm blaming Denise Pratt.
I'm also blaming the corrupt slatemakers who gave us Denise Pratt in 2010 -- and in particular the one who still cannot see his way clear to endorse the only non-corrupt candidate on the ballot.
And most of all, I'm blaming District Attorney Devon Anderson for making the secret plea deal with Pratt and keeping it under wraps for weeks after the Pratt resignation. Prosecution was not only morally necessary to see that Pratt paid for her malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance, but also to preserve the integrity of the electoral process by getting Pratt off the ballot. If Anderson were in a runoff race, I would almost certainly be endorsing her opponent. As it stands, I cannot say that I won't find it necessary to endorse her opponent in the general election in November.
So, folks, I have to remind you of what is important in the waning days of the 2014 Harris County GOP runoff.
Alicia Franklin for Judge
311th Family District Court
In the mean time, we have to remember to get out to vote in the May 27 runoff election, to make sure that Alicia Franklin wins the GOP nomination in the race for the 311th Court rather than the derelict vessel that is the Pratt candidacy.
And while we are at it, it is important that in the runoff for the 247th Court that we nominate Associate Judge Meca Walker as our candidate for presiding judge of that court rather than her opponent, John Schmude. After all, Walker has years of experience as a Family Court judge while Schmude barely meets the legal requirements to be elected -- and is backed by the same slate-makers who assured Harris County Republicans that Denise Pratt was superbly qualified to be a judge and the same donors who were giving money to the Pratt campaign right up until the day she resigned. Because justice and competence -- especially in our Family Courts -- matters.
You can still vote on Friday, May 23 -- and, of course, on Tuesday, May 27. Get out there and make the only right choices available in these family court races.