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Texas Bar Poll and Statewide Judicial Races

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

The Texas Bar poll of statewide and appellate judicial races is up just in time for the Republican and Democratic primaries. But the poll includes all candidates who have filed applications for nominations with their respective parties, including Libertarians. Only Texas Bar members were allowed to vote in the poll.

And the poll does not include partisan labels or information about current office-holding status. The only information about the candidates provided on the poll is their city of residence. And, the listing order of the names on the ballot appears to be by last name from A to Z.

The raw data of the poll can be found by clicking here.

Incumbent Analysis

As might be expected, the incumbents on the ballot receive the plurality in every poll. But in some cases, the plurality is pretty low. Of course, all of the incumbents on the statewide judiciary are Republican.

Note that only one statewide Republican judicial race is contested, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3. In that race Judge Bert Richardson of San Antonio, who has served on the Court since 2015 is challenged by practicing criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Gina Parker of Waco. Richardson received the lowest plurality of the statewide incumbents with 35.8%. Parker received an overall vote of 15.7% in the poll, making the intra-GOP race percentages of Richardson v. Parker, 69.5% v. 30.5%. Republicans in that race received a total of 51.5% of the vote with the three Democrats challenging each other in that race receiving a total of 48.5% of the votes cast. Gina Parker calls herself a constitutional conservative in her campaign advertising.

The statewide incumbent receiving the highest percentage vote is Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 Judge David Newell of Fort Bend County with 53.7%. There were only two people listed on that race, Republican Newell and one Democrat, Dallas County District Judge Brandon Birmingham.

The second highest vote getter was longtime Supreme Court Chief Justice, Nathan Hecht, with 53.0% (R – Austin).

Three other Republican incumbents had pluralities below 50%: Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4, Judge Kevin Patrick Yeary of Austin, also serving since 2015 got 43.8% of the vote against two Democrats. The other two Republican incumbents below 50% face Libertarian challengers as well as Democrats. Justice Jeff Boyd of Austin, serving on Supreme Courty, Place 7 received 42.3%, and Justice Brett Busby of Austin, serving In Supreme Court, Place 8 received 40.5% of the lawyer’s votes.

Democrat Primary Analysis

Of the seven statewide races up in 2020, 6 of the 7 races have contested Democratic Party primaries. Here is a table of those races:

The Libertarians

Three Libertarians have filed applications for nomination for statewide judicial races.

Mark Ash, of Houston running for Supreme Court Chief Justice, received 5.83%.

William Bryan Strange, III of Dallas running for Supreme Court, Place 7, received 7.2%.

And Tom Oxford of Beaumont running for Supreme Court, Place 8 received 8.2%.

All three Libertarians have run for statewide judicial slots in the past. Mark Ash received 25% of the race with over 1.6 million votes in 2018 in his race for Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8.


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