SC2: Justice Don Willett (R) was sworn in as a Judge for the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jimmy Blacklock was sworn in as the newest Texas Supreme Court justice, succeeding Willett, who was up for re-election this year. Blacklock is unopposed in the Republican primary. Including Blacklock, seven of the 14 justices appointed to the high court since 2001 were unopposed in their first Republican primary. Only one appointee since 2001, former Justice Xavier Rodriguez, was defeated in the subsequent primary election.


SEN: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leads U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), 52%-34%, according to an internal poll conducted for Cruz by WPA Intelligence, which is headed by Cruz advisor Chris Wilson. About one in eight voters was undecided. Cruz’s favorability rating was 50/42 while O’Rourke’s was 14/7. Only one in three likely voters polled said they knew who O’Rourke was. The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted in mid-December. The stated margin of error is ±4%. Cruz defeated former Rep. Paul Sadler (R-Henderson), 56%-41%, in 2012.

CD6 open: The Ron Wright campaign released an initial list of endorsers, which includes Sen. Konni Burton, five Tarrant Co. state representatives, five countywide office holders and two county commissioners, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and Mansfield Mayor David Cook. The list also includes Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life. Meanwhile, former Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorsed Jake Ellzey.

CD32: Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro’s newly launched Opportunity First PAC will support Colin Allred in the Democratic primary against U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas). Allred worked with Castro when the latter was the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. We reported in August that Castro has established the PAC.

Alice: Early voting begins tomorrow for the January 20 emergency special election necessitated by the recall of two council members. One of those ousted council members is a candidate in the special election.

McAllen: Early voting begins tomorrow for the January 20 special election to fill the remaining three years of former council member Richard Cortez’s term. Cortez resigned to run for Hidalgo County Judge. Podiatrist and former McAllen ISD board member Joseph Caporusso; attorney, former Hidalgo Co. Republican chair and 2008 nominee for HD41 (33%) Javier Villalobos; and businessman Tim Wilkins filed for the seat. Wilkins has spent three times as much as either of his rivals, according to locally filed campaign finance reports. Early voting ends January 16.

San Antonio: A group called This Is Texas Freedom Force is seeking to recall council members William Cruz Shaw and Roberto Treviño over the removal of a Confederate statue from a city park. The group, which bills itself as “protectors of all things Texas,” has six months to collect signatures from 10% of the registered voters in the council members’ respective districts.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC

First Primary Results for Appointed Supreme Court Justices Since 2001

Wallace Jefferson (September 2004), unopposed in 2006 primary
Nathan Hecht (October 2013), won 2014 primary, 60%-40%

Don Willett (August 2005), won 2006 primary, 51%-49%
Jimmy Blacklock (January 2018), unopposed in 2018 primary

Debra Lehrmann (June 2010), won 2016 primary, 52%-48%
Lehrmann was appointed after winning 2010 primary runoff.

Wallace Jefferson (April 2001), won 2002 primary, 62%-38%
David Medina (November 2004), unopposed in 2006 primary

Xavier Rodriguez (September 2001), lost 2002 primary to Steven Wayne Smith, 54%-46%

Jeff Brown (October 2013), won 2014 primary, 72%-28%

Jeff Boyd (December 2012), unopposed in 2014 primary

Michael Schneider (September 2002), unopposed in 2002 primary
Phil Johnson (April 2005), unopposed in 2006 primary

Scott Brister (November 2003), unopposed in 2004 primary
Eva Guzman (October 2009), won 2010 primary, 65%-35%

All justices listed here are Republicans. Month and year of appointment is shown in parentheses.