Incumbents win in Texas Supreme Court race; Beat challengers in GOP primary

By Marilyn Tennissen | Nov 29, 2014

The incumbent justices on the Texas Supreme Court will hold onto to their seats, at least until the general election in November.

Current Chief Justice Nathan Hecht received 60.48 percent of the votes, or 707,701 votes out of 1,169,984 total votes cast. 


Hecht was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1988 and was reelected to six-year terms in 1994, 2000, and 2006. He secured his fifth six-year term on Nov. 6, 2012. He was appointed chief justice by Gov. Rick Perry on Sept.10, 2013, and was sworn in by retiring Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson on Oct. 1, 2013. Hecht will fill the unexpired term of Chief Justice Jefferson, which ends on Dec. 31, 2014.

Hecht, originally from Dallas, was backed by conservative U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.  He received 60.5 percent of the votes, or 707,692 votes out of 1,169,984 total votes cast.

His challenger, former state Rep. Robert Talton of Harris County received 462,273 votes, or 39.5 percent.

After filing for the position, Talton reported that all of the $30,000 he raised for the race came from one source, Houston trial attorney Mark Lanier, who also backed unsuccessful challengers to two other Republican Supreme Court justices, Jeff Brown and Phil Johnson.

In the Nov. 4 general election, Justice Hecht faces the Democrat William Moody, who ran unopposed in his party primary and polled 426,898 votes. Moody has served as the presiding judge of the 34th District Court in El Paso since 1986. He  has made two previous runs for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. 


Justice Jeff Brown will continue serving the unexpired term in Place 6 on the high court after beating Republican challenger Joe Pool in the primary.

Brown earned 71.90 percent of the votes, or 820,596 votres out of 1,141,159 total votes cast.

Jeff Brown was appointed to Texas Supreme Court by Governor Rick Perry in September 2013 to replace Justice Nathan L. Hecht after Hecht's appointment as chief justice.

Joe Pool Jr., the son of a former Texas congressman, ran  for Supreme Court in 2012 and barely missed a runoff in a field of which he was heavily outspent. But Pool lacked the qualifications and experience that Brown offered.

Since 2007, Brown has been a justice on Houston's 14th Court of Appeals. A civil trial lawyer, Brown practiced at Baker Botts in Houston before becoming a judge.

Brown faces Democrat Lance Edward Meyers in November. Meyers, who was unopposed on the primary ballot, received 416,426 votes. Meyers first joined the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as a Republican in 1992. On Dec. 9, 2013, Meyers changed parties and filed to run as Democrat.

Justice Phil Johnson beat his opponent to the Place 8 seat on the Texas Supreme Court.

Johnson served  previously on the Seventh Court of Appeals in 1998 and became its chief justice in 2002. In 2005, Johnson was appointed to the court by Gov. Rick Perry.

He received 64.02 percent of the vote, or 731,287 votes out of 1,142,163 total votes cast.

His Republican opponent, Sharon McCally, received 410,876 votes.

McCally is a judge on the 14th Court of Appeals and was highly qualified.  She was an open critic of the current Surepme Court and challenged some of its decisions.

Johnson has no Democratic challenger in the general election.

Place 7 Justice Jeff Boyd had no Republican challenger in the primary. He received 998,191 votes.

Boyd joined the Court on December 3, 2012, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to fill Justice Dale Wainwright's unexpired term. Wainwright resigned Sept. 30, 2013.

Justice Boyd was the governor's chief of staff since September 2011. Before that he was Gov. Perry's general counsel.

Gina Benavides, a Democrat, will face Boyd in November. She received 431,047 votes running unopposed in the primary. Elected to the bench in 2007 and re-elected in 2012, Judge Benavides serves on the Texas Thirteenth District Court of Appeals.

Benavides said she is running to bring balance, perspective and high ethical standard to the court.

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