Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Updated: My Ballot for the Democratic Primary

So how did my ballot do?

Losses: 5
Wins: 7* (barring any changes with recounts)
Runoffs: 3

So 5 of my chosen candidates lost (Scherr, Fitzsimons, Canales, Petty, & Forbrich).  7 won (Davis, Brown, Green, Boyd, LaHood, Wolff, & Torres).  3 are going into runoffs (Bustamante, Scharf-Zeldes, Abundis-Esparza).

For the contested races in my area, this is who will be getting my vote in the Democratic Primary:

U.S. Senate: Maxey Scherr
Governor: Wendy Davis
Agriculture Commissioner: Hugh Fitzsimons, III
Railroad Commissioner: Steve Brown
45th District Court: John Bustamante
150th District Court: Paul Canales
186th District Court: Mary Green
187th District Court: Stephanie Boyd
224th District Court: Michele Petty
D.A.: Nico LaHood
County Judge: Nelson Wolff
County Court #10: Tina Torres
Probate Court #1: Barbie Scharf-Zeldes
District Clerk: Elva Abundis-Esparza
County Clerk: Chris Forbrich

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Judge Who Isn't a Judge: Race for Bexar County Judge

Bexar County Judge

Primary Outlook: Nelson Favored

General Election Outlook: Nelson Favored

Bexar County Judge.  Through most of the 90s Republican Cyndi Krier held this post.  Since 2001, Democrat Nelson Wolff has been presiding on the Commissioners Court.

For such a powerful position, it's amazing how often it isn't contested, or at least actively challenged.  In 1992, Krier defeated Tommy Adkisson (D) to become County Judge.  When she ran for re-election in 1994 and 1998 she was unopposed.

When Wolff ran the first time in 2002 he faced a Republican and a Libertarian.  In 2006 and 2010 he was unopposed (2006) and only faced a Libertarian (2010).

Who's running?

Running for a full 4th term is incumbent Nelson Wolff.  A Democrat of the more moderate to conservative type, he's managed to avoid a primary challenge...until now.

Giving up his County Commissioner seat is Tommy Adkisson.  He's previously run and lost a race for County Judge and now resides as the Precinct 4 Commissioner.

Financial as of latest filing:
Adkisson: Contributions: $91,575; Expenditures: $90,920.54; CoH: $206,833.89
Wolff: Contributions: $159,600; Expenditures: $81,749.23; CoH: $214,622.99

Adkisson: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Wolff: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Attack Site

Overall this race is HOT, HOT, HOT:

1) Fireworks.  This is a race every political writer dreams of because it has fireworks.  If you've been to any forum featuring Wolff and Adkisson, you will not be disappointed.

2) Race.  It's a countywide race and it shows it.  This race makes the DA primary look like a race for a Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League.

3) Money.  Both candidates have enough money to really go after each other.  One glaring problem for Adkisson is his burn rate.  He's spending just as much as he's raising.

4) Endorsements.  Looking at the endorsements in this race, it starts to look like a David vs. Goliath.  Among Wolff's elected endorsers: Mayor Julian Castro, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Commissioners Paul Elizondo and Chico Rodriguez; State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, State Reps Phil Cortez, Ruth Jones McClendon, Trey Martinez-Fischer, Jose Menendez, Justin Rodriguez, Mike Villarreal.

Among former electeds: Henry Cisneros, Phil Hardberger, Howard Peak, Art Hall, Chip Haass, Patti Radle, Roger Perez, Bonnie Conner.

Among nonelecteds (i.e., prestige and money): Henry Munoz, Frank Burney, Berto Guerra, Frank Herrera, Jane Macon, Walter Serna, Mikal Watts.

Based on the support Wolff should win this race.  Add to that, his better management of campaign money, and Tommy's troubles with emails, and Wolff should easily be the nominee for November.

Even Smart People say Stupid Things

Even very accomplished and smart people can say stupid things.  In this case, it comes in the form of incredulity.  The person behind it is Suzanne Hildebrand, who is definitely no slouch.  From her bio and the Express-News:
Suzanne is the founder of MADD in Texas, was appointed to serve on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards & Education (TCLEOSE) by Governor Bill Clements, and currently serves on the Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke appointed by Governor Rick Perry. She also served on the Bexar County Jail Population Committee. While Suzanne’s main passion is stroke care and issues, her blog also addresses patient care, grief, political issues and items of general interest.
Hildebrand's incredulity comes about because of her shock that the Express-News endorsed Therese Huntzinger in the Democratic Primary for DA.

It's hard to take Hildebrand seriously in this case.  Why?  Her post starts out like this: I am an Independent, although I am philosophically more Republican than Democrat. Over the years, I have campaigned for candidates of both parties.

That's fine.  But taken together with how she describes the other Democratic DA candidate you start to get a different picture: Correctly, the Express-News found Nico LaHood, a drug dealing, gun toting felon to be unqualified. Don’t you honestly wonder how he ever became a lawyer?

On a personal note, I'm going to guess that LaHood, like many other people, managed to pick up the pieces of their life/lives and make something of themselves.  From the way Hildebrand describes LaHood he sounds like Tony Montana from Scarface.  I will admit to some incredulity at this moment.  Does Hildebrand believe that no one can learn from their past mistakes?  To me this is exactly what is wrong with the criminal justice system today.  We spout these feel good lines about rehabilitation, but never really believe that anyone arrested of certain crimes are capable of bettering their lives.  And thereby, these people are forever branded by some with scarlet letters for the rest of their lives.  But I digress...

It's what Hildebrand says about Huntzinger that causes some pause:
Even minor research, or Google search, reveals the truth about Huntzinger’s pursuit of “a witness-tampering indictment against a well-known criminal defense lawyer”. It was little more than a  political witch hunt launched by Huntzinger and her ally, an ultra-partisan politician and former San Antonio city councilman, who then served as foreman of the Grand Jury.

When asked about the sufficiency of the evidence in the case, Huntzinger said she had enough evidence to INDICT but that she would NEED TO OBTAIN MORE EVIDENCE TO CONVICT.

If Huntzinger’s attitude in that case doesn’t scare even a brave man or woman, it should. In fact, it sends cold shivers up and down my spine. Because of Huntzinger’s actions in that case, the Court appointed a Special Prosecutor to handle it. The Special Prosecutor promptly DISMISSED the case because of a TOTAL LACK OF EVIDENCE. This case should never have been brought and it proves Huntzinger to be uniquely UNQUALIFIED  to serve as District Attorney.

Huntzinger is a clear and present danger to every law-abiding citizen in Bexar County.

The Express-News should not have endorsed either of these unqualified candidates.
Why do I say pause, because after reading another account of the incident (cause I wasn't around for it), I have to wonder if Hildebrand has lied or if the truth is somewhere in between.  In addition, there are instances where a prosecutor does have enough evidence to indict someone, but to get the jury to that final conviction proves tough, if not impossible, without additional evidence.  From the sound of it, Ms. Hildebrand seems to argue that anyone indicted is automatically guilty.

But what really goes over the top is labeling Huntzinger a "clear and present danger."  Really?  Huntzinger is going to incite imminent lawless action in violation of the First Amendment?

Hildebrand titled her post Unbelievable Political Endorsement.  Obviously Ms. Hildebrand isn't supporting either of the Democratic DA candidates.  And going on that, plus that she has admitted to being more aligned with the Republican Party I have to assume she is supporting Susan Reed.  If the rumors about Reed are true, what I find unbelievable is a founder and former President of MADD supporting her reelection.