Texas Dems Add Judges In Cities, GOP Holds Rural Courts

Law360 (November 4, 2020, 1:31 AM EST) -- Adding to the more than two dozen Democratic justices swept into office in the 2018 midterms, 9 of the 12 contested seats on Texas' intermediate appellate courts were won by Democrats in a second blue wave in the traditionally Republican state.


On the First Court of Appeals, Republican Justice Russell Lloyd was edged out by newcomer Democratic challenger and Veronica Rivas-Malloy. Republican Terry Adams is winning a close race for an open seat against Democrat Amparo Monique Guerra with 50.06% of the vote with 80% of precincts reporting.

And on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, in a close election, Republican Justice Ken Wise won reelection, defeating Democratic challenger Tamika Craft. His Republican colleague, Justice Tracy Christopher, was ahead in the race to be that court's Chief Justice against Democratic challenger Jane Robinson with 50.17% of the vote with 80% of precincts reporting. 

In the 2018 midterm elections, every Republican justice on the First and Fourteenth Courts of Appeal lost bids for re-election to a Democratic challenger, giving Democrats a 5-4 majority on both courts.


On the Third Court of Appeals, Republican Chief Justice Jeff Rose lost his reelection bid and will be replaced by Democrat Darlene Byrne.

Democratic challengers in 2018 won all four seats on this court that were up for election, giving the party a 4-2 majority on the court. With Chief Justice Rose losing reelection, that balance is now 5-1 in favor of Democrats.

San Antonio

On the Fourth Court of Appeals, incumbent Democrat Rebeca Martinez held her seat, fending off Republican challenger Renee Yanta.

Two seats on the court of seven were flipped by Democrats in the 2018 midterms, giving the party a 6-1 majority there. Justice Martinez's victory maintains that balance.


Three incumbent Republican justices on the Fifth Court of Appeals — David Evans, Bill Whitehill and the newly appointed John Browning — each lost against Democratic challengers Bonnie Lee Goldstein, Dennise Garcia and Craig Smith, respectively.

Republicans on the Fifth Court of Appeals took a beating in the 2018 midterm election, with all eight seats on the ballot flipped by Democrats, giving the party an 8-5 majority. With the Democratic wins this year, that majority becomes 11-2. 

El Paso

In the race for the top spot on the Eighth Court of Appeals, incumbent Republican Chief Justice Jeff Alley, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott last October, was defeated by Democratic challenger Justice Yvonne Rodriguez, who won reelection to the court's Place 2 in 2018.

Rodriguez's victory on Tuesday removed the lone Republican on the three-seat court.

In 2018, Democrats held the two seats that were up for reelection.

Corpus Christi

Incumbent Republican Justice Jaime E. Tijerina, appointed to his seat in August 2019 by the governor, fended off a challenge from Democrat Migdalia Lopez.

In the race between newcomers, Republican Clarissa Silva edged out Democrat Nereida Lopez-Singleterry.

In 2018 every member of this six-justice court was a Democrat, and the four seats on the ballot at that time were all won by Democrats.

Unchallenged Republican Justices

Eleven of the justices who won election to the bench went unchallenged. All were Republicans, mostly on courts covering rural parts of the state.

Justices Brian Walker and Dana Womack, both newcomers, won seats on the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. Justice Ralph K. Burgess won reelection to the Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana, as did Brian Quinn and Lawrence Doss to their seats on the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo.

On Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont, Justice Scott Golemon won his race. Incumbent Justice Matt Johnson on Tenth Court of Appeals in Waco won his race, as did fellow jurist John Neill.

Newcomers to the Eleventh Court of Appeals in Eastland, Bruce Williams and W. Stacy Trotter, won their seats. And on the Twelfth Court of Appeals in Tyler Chief Justice James Worthen held his seat.

--Editing by Peter Rozovsky.

Correction: An earlier story incorrectly reported that Terry Adams and Justice Tracy Chistopher had lost their races.

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