Supreme Court Race Tops Texas Runoff Ballot - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Supreme Court Race Tops Texas Runoff Ballot



    Supreme Court Race Tops Texas Runoff Ballot
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    The rules governing Illinois elections need to change.

    An ex-legislator and evangelical speaker with tea party appeal is competing against a longtime family law judge in Tuesday's Republican runoff for the Texas Supreme Court.

    Former state Rep. Rick Green of Dripping Springs faces state district judge Debra Lehrmann of Tarrant County in the only statewide race on the ballot. Voters also will decide a State Board of Education nomination fight between two Republicans, along with seven congressional and nine legislative runoffs.

    Turnout is likely to be low, judging by past runoff elections. Early voting last week appears to have been light based on talks with election officials around Texas, said Randall Dillard, spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office.

    "We hope what that means is that a lot of people are going to go out, and they're just waiting for Election Day," Dillard said. "There are a lot of important races to be decided."

    Many Democratic and Republican primary contests -- including each party's nomination for governor -- were settled March 2.

    Those who voted in a party primary can vote only in that party's runoff election; they can't cross over and cast ballots in the other party's runoff. People who didn't vote at all in March primary may choose which party's runoff they wish to vote in.

    Green finished atop a six-candidate Republican field last month for a Texas Supreme Court nomination, winning 18.9 percent of the vote. Lehrmann was close behind with 18.2 percent.

    Since then, Lehrmann has been working to convince Republican voters that Green is inexperienced and nominating him would put Republicans at risk of losing the seat to Democrats in the fall election. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips and other prominent figures in the legal community support Lehrmann.

    A licensed attorney, Green says he spent the past decade "teaching on the Constitution and the original intent of our Founding Fathers." He speaks at churches, home school conventions, tea party rallies and other political events on behalf of Wallbuilders, a group that promotes religion's role in the founding of the United States.

    The winner faces Democrat Jim Sharp in November. Currently, Republicans hold all nine Texas Supreme Court seats, as well as all statewide offices.

    A State Board of Education runoff pits conservative home-school advocate Brian Russell against former educator Marsha Farney for the Republican nomination to replace resigning Republican Cynthia Dunbar.

    Voters will decide party nominees in seven congressional runoffs, six of them among Republican candidates. One of the most closely watched congressional contests this year is District 17 in Central Texas, where Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards aims to hold onto his seat in a conservative area that includes former President George W. Bush's Crawford ranch.

    Republicans Bill Flores and Robert Curnock emerged from a crowded field to face each other in Tuesday's runoff for the chance to take on Edwards. Curnock ran against Edwards two years ago and lost.

    Three incumbents are fighting for their jobs in legislative runoffs, including Republican Rep. Delwin Jones of Lubbock, the oldest member of the Texas Legislature at age 86. He faces tea party conservative Charles Perry.

    Democratic Rep. Norma Chavez of El Paso, an outspoken lawmaker and advocate for casino gambling on Indian reservations, is in a tight race against challenger Naomi Gonzalez. Their sparring has been nasty with personal attacks and accusations that each is more Republican than the other.

    The third incumbent, Republican Rep. Fred Brown of College Station has a runoff against Gerald "Buddy" Winn, a former Brazos County tax assessor-collector.