February 08, 2016

Republican Primary Endorsements -- 2016

Here are my endorsements in contested races in the upcoming primary. I did not endorse in a couple of state representative races, justice of the peace races, and constable races. I did list one race in which I made no endorsement and offer an explanation for that decision, and another with only one candidate where I believed it better to leave the ballot blank.

* * * * *

President of the United States: Marco Rubio – Marco Rubio may be the best hope for the Republican Party to win the presidential election this fall. A solid conservative with roots in the Tea Party movement, Rubio is among the most conservative members of either house of Congress. At the same time, Rubio has what both of his major rivals (Cruz and Trump) lack – a warm personality that voters find attractive. That may be why polling data shows him consistently beating Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups while Cruz is in a dead heat and Trump consistently loses. While Rubio may not be the perfect candidate (something that doesn’t exist), he is the best of a good bunch and deserves the support of Republicans.

Congress District 7: James Lloyd – There appears to be a groundswell for change among constituents in CD7. While John Culberson may have done excellent work during his years in Congress, it appears that Republican voters want change. With that in mind, it appears that James Lloyd is the better of the challengers in the race seeking to unseat the incumbent.

Congress District 8: Kevin Brady – Let’s say it – Kevin Brady is a conservative who has worked his way into leadership in Congress, earning the respect of his colleagues along the way. He deserves to be reelected.

Supreme Court Place 3: Debra Lehrmann – Justice Lehrmann has earned the respect of legal professionals in her time on the Texas Supreme Court. There is no good reason to replace her.

Supreme Court Place 5: Paul Green – We have a solid conservative justice with an impeccable record running against a politician with a confusingly similar name. Stick with Paul Green.

Supreme Court Place 9: Eva Guzman – The daughter of immigrants who has worked hard to climb to the top court in the state of Texas, Guzman’s story is the American Dream lived out before us. We in the Houston area have watched her rise through the ranks as she has become one of the state’s most respected jurists. Her opponent is a pretender, trying to capitalize on his daddy’s name – and a Democrat besides. Eva Guzman is the easiest endorsement on this list.

State Representative District 128: Briscoe Cain – Briscoe Cain is one of the finest men I know. Committed to public service and conservative principles, I can think of no better person to replace the incumbent, who is a part of the Straus gang in Austin.

State Representative District 150: Valoree Swanson – At one time, Debbie Riddle was a model conservative legislator. Her time in Austin, however, has led her to become an arrogant member of the establishment. Between Trump-like appeals to xenophobia during her last campaign, loyalty to Joe Straus rather than conservative principles, and a growing arrogance towards those who question her actions in Austin, it is clear she has become the worst sort of insider. That may explain why there are so many challengers in this conservative bastion. Valoree Swanson is a solid conservative who has risen from the grassroots to challenge the incumbent, and deserves the Republican nomination in HD 150.

Railroad Commissioner: John Greytok – In a race full of well-qualified candidates which is certain to go to a runoff in May, I endorse John Greytok.

14th Court of Appeals Place 2: Kevin Jewell
– Our state’s courts of appeals need conservative jurists who recognize that their role is to apply the law rather than make it. Kevin Jewell fits the bill perfectly.

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2: Chris Oldner – An experienced judge and former prosecutor, Chris Oldner has shown the legal acumen and integrity that a judge on the state’s highest criminal court needs. This has been displayed of late in the case he has overseen regarding Attorney General Ken Paxton, where he has made rulings that were not politically popular but were legally correct.

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5: Sid Harle – Sid Harle has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a judge, excelling in all three roles. We need such men (and women) on our state’s highest criminal court.

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 6: Michael Keasler – Michael Keasler has written and taught extensively, and has also been active in numerous judicial organizations. He is a well-respected judge who deserves to remain on the court until he reaches mandatory retirement in four years.

80th District Court: Ken Shortreed – Despite having criticized Shortreed a couple of years ago for his legal work on behalf of one of the local pay-for-play slate makers, I find myself endorsing him in the race for the 80th District Court. He is an excellent attorney whose varied work experience, knowledge, and training will make him a positive addition to our local courts.

125th District Court: L.A. Olson – This is the sort of race where picking the best candidate is hard because of the quality of the candidates. In the end, though, Leif A. Olson is a candidate with a superb education, experience as a law clerk to a federal district judge, and a practicing attorney both with a big law firm and his own private practice. Of a conservative legal temperament, he will certainly be the sort of judge that Republicans want to place on the bench.

151st District Court: Jeff Hastings – As I’ve spoken to folks about this race, I have yet to find a single person who offered a negative assessment of Jeff Hastings as a candidate, as an attorney, or as a person. That is a rare thing, and made it easy to endorse him.

178th District Court: Xavier Alfaro – This is a difficult race to make an endorsement in this year. There are multiple candidates who merit serious consideration and who would be a credit to the bench. With experience as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Alfaro appears to be the best qualified of all the candidates. He is also committed to clearing the backlog in this felony court, which is a pressing concern for advocates for both victims and the accused.

339th District Court: Mary McFadden – McFadden has been a conscientious and respected prosecutor for years here in Harris County. She will undoubtedly be a credit to the bench.

Harris County District Attorney: LEAVE IT BLANK – Yes, I know there is only one candidate on the ballot in this race – but the notion of offering even an implicit endorsement of Devon Anderson by way of silence leads me to encourage all Republicans to cast a vote of no confidence in her administration of the office by intentionally undervoting in this race. Her office’s bungling of two abortion related cases in the last 2 ˝ years and her indictment of those seeking to uncover wrongdoing in one of them is evidence that we can do better – even if that means letting the office fall to someone who is not a Republican this fall.

County Civil Court at Law 1: Clyde Leuchtag – Judge Leuchtag was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on this bench and has served creditably. His opponent is a Democrat who crossed parties in the hope of setting up a race in which either she or her husband (a candidate in the Democrat primary) would be elected. Don’t reward that behavior when we can keep the experienced Republican in place.

County Attorney: Chris Carmona – Chris Carmona is one of the young guns of Harris County (and, indeed, Texas and national) politics, and will be one of our party’s rising stars in years to come. In his first race for office, he is seeking to take back the office of County Attorney from the Democrat incumbent. I view a vote for Carmona as a two-fer – not only a chance to put someone with integrity in this important office, but also the opportunity to invest in the future of both our county and our party.

Harris County Sheriff: Carl Pittman – Many of us in the grassroots believed that Carl Pittman should have been the choice to become sheriff after Adrian Garcia resigned. We were not listened to then; let’s make them listen to us now.

Harris County Tax Collector-Assessor: Mike Sullivan – Sullivan’s opponent recently asked if voters want an activist or an administrator for this position. Personally, I vote for an administrator, and therefore endorse Mike Sullivan.

Harris County School Trustee Position 1 Precinct 2: Marvin Morris – Marvin Morris has shown himself to be a man concerned about the education of the children of Harris County since being elected to this position. While some claim that this entity needs to be eliminated, Morris correctly points out that the taxes that fund it will simply become a part of the general budget for the county rather than go away. As such, we are better off with those who will oversee its operations with an eye towards efficiency than those who seek to undermine it.

Harris County School Trustee Position 2 Precinct 4: No Endorsement – It pains me to not endorse Eric Dick on this one, as I view him to be a man of great integrity and would support him for almost any position. That said, I believe that Danell Fields is correct in observing that the Harris County Department of Education provides economies of scale save local ISDs money. Unfortunately, Dick wants to abolish HCDE (which, as noted in my endorsement above, is unlikely to result in tax savings) while Fields seems to be unprepared for the office, suggesting that she will wait until in office to decide what about priorities. In both cases, Harris County students and taxpayers deserve better.

Harris County Commissioner Precinct 3: Steve Radack – An experienced incumbent or a candidate running an amateur campaign with no real vision. The choice is obvious.

Harris County Republican Chair: Paul Simpson – Paul Simpson ran with the goal of making Harris County Republicans competitive in every part of the county. In two years, we were nearly able to take two top spots in the city of Houston – something we never imagined happening. We’ve seen an increase in the number of precinct chairs and expanded outreach to every community. What he is doing is working—let’s not mess up a good thing.

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