As I mentioned with this post back in February, the 2012 Election Season has begun preposterously early this time around, with most of the activity focusing on which Republicans are going to be vying to retake the criminal court benches lost to Democrats in 2008. Here we are five months later and the field has already changed significantly from back in February.
I thought you all might like an up-to-date guide on how things look right now:
The 174th District Court
This race has become contested since we last checked in. Felony District Court Chief Joe Vinas has moved from the race for the 338th District Court (see below for more details on that) to face off against former-prosecutor and local attorney Robert Summerlin. The winner will face off against Ruben Guerrero on the Democratic side.
The 176th District Court
Last we looked here, no one had thrown their name in to be the Republican challenger to Incumbent Judge Shawna Reagin. Since then, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Stacey Webb Bond has announced that she will be running as a Republican.
The 177th District Court
There have been no official changes to this race thus far, as Republican Ryan Patrick will be running for the spot against Incumbent Judge Kevin Fine. There have been some rumors that Judge Fine may draw an opponent in his own primary. I'll keep you posted on this one.
The 178th District Court
I'm not sure if Roger Bridgwater has made it official that he will be attempting to retake his bench from Incumbent Judge David Mendoza. The word on the street is that Patricia R. Lykos is not too happy about the idea of Roger running because it conveys the idea that people are "jumping ship" from the Office. Um, yeah, Pat, half your damn Trial Bureau leaves and you don't bat an eye, but when the guy who sits in his office and does nothing all day wants to be a judge, then you get worried?
The 179th District Court
This is still facially the same race, as Republican Kristin Guiney is the only listed challenger right now against Incumbent Judge Randy Roll. However, there are rumors that Lana Shadwick is going to run as a Republican. Shadwick is apparently hoping her ex-husband's name will bring her a judgeship, and her flaky history and resume of bouncing from job to job and position to position within the D.A.'s Office has fellow-blogger Mark Bennett declaring this to be "Christmas in July".
The 337th District Court
This one has been a change, as it doesn't appear that prosecutor Alexis Gilbert is running for the position any longer. However, long-time prosecutor and Chief Renee Magee is now officially running against Democratic candidate and Incumbent Judge Herb Ritchie.
The 338th District Court
A change here as well as former-prosecutor, former-judge, and current defense attorney Brock Thomas has announced he will be running against Hazel Jones to retake his bench after the 2008 elections. Joe Vinas had been slated to run for this bench against Judge Jones, but deferred to Brock and switched to the 174th race. I'm glad to see Brock running again.
The 339th District Court
This race remains unchanged, as well. Special Crimes Chief Brad Hart is still the only candidate currently listed to be running against Incumbent Judge Maria Jackson.
The 351st District Court
As I mentioned in the last post, I can't imagine Incumbent Judge Mark Ellis drawing a Republican challenger in the primary, and I haven't heard of any Democratic candidates signing up to run against him either.
I'll keep you posted as things develop . . .