Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the Texas Association of Business, and the Texas Medical Association. A top Republican official said that White’s campaign has sparked a debate within the party. “Is it best to elect this guy and give him a platform over the next few years? Or does that damage the GOP more than allowing a Democrat to win?” the official wondered. Max B. Baker, Candidate Speaks His Mind in Court Race, Fort Worth Star Telegram, October 6, 2002.
Article reports that “after publicly vowing earlier this year to raise and spend more than $30 million to help elect business-friendly candidates and push legal reform in the 2002 elections, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has become more tight-lipped about the effort.” Although the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform has declined to comment “on how much was being spent on advertising and get- out-the-vote operations in judicial and attorney general races around the country,” several sources say “that a joint fundraising drive by the Chamber and the Business Roundtable has raised about $20 million so far.” That money “is being spent to bolster Supreme Court and attorney general candidates in Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, and Texas.” Judicial candidates in Ohio and Wisconsin “may also get some help.” Peter H. Stone and Louis Jacobson, Chamber Is Coy on Campaign Effort, National Journal, October 12, 2002.
Article reports that this year, in stark contrast to 2000, five of the Texas Supreme Court’s nine seats “are up for grabs, and political analysts say Democrats are back in the race, with a slate that includes two appeals court judges and a former State Bar of Texas president.” However, “by July, the five GOP candidates beat their Democratic opponents by a ratio of 3-to-1 in campaign contributions, pulling in $2.2 million to the Democrats’ $784,000.” The Republican slate includes “Chief Justice Tom Phillips – credited with rebuilding the court’s tarnished image after a campaign contribution scandal in the late 1980s – and the court’s first African- American justice.” In 2000, “Republican Supreme Court justices Nathan Hecht, Priscilla Owen and Al Gonzales breezed to victory over nominal, third-party opposition.” Max B. Baker, Jammed Field Vies for Seats on Court, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 13, 2002.
95. Article reports that, although Texas judicial candidates have collectively raised millions of dollars, “there will be few television and radio ads, and even those risk being muffled by the noisy races at the top of the ballot.” Indeed, “most Texans have no idea who the candidates are and will cast votes based on party label or whatever whim possesses them when they step into the booth.” Judicial candidates “court law firms, friends and party loyalists,” and they “carom around the state seeking ears to bend and hands to shake,” hoping to win in “tiny increments” the small percentage of voters who will not simply vote on straight party lines in judicial elections. District Judge Jim Parsons (D.), who is running for the Texas Supreme Court, described the experience as “an emotional roller coaster. You’re strapped in, and the highs and lows are beyond your control.”