BEAUMONT – With the March primary in books, plaintiff’s attorney Tina Bradley will race toward the May runoff election touting a much heavier war chest than her opponent, as trial lawyers from all over Southeast Texas are supporting the toxic tort specialist to be the next judge of the 172nd District Court.
The 172nd’s current judge, Donald Floyd, has sat behind the bench since 1989 and is retiring at the end of his term.
Although she got a late start, Bradley, a partner at Hobson & Bradley, captured 35 percent of the vote on March 6, a result that she says has her feeling optimistic heading into May 22 runoff.
Her Democratic rival, Melody Chappell, landed 43 percent of the total vote.
However, even though Chappell led in votes, Bradley leads in funding and holds a significant financial edge, according to campaign finance reports.
Before the calendar flipped to 2018, Bradley raised $30,000 in donations – a third of which was supplied by attorneys for the area law firm Reaud Morgan & Quinn.
Her opponent, Chappell, collected a little more than half that amount going into the New Year, raising around $17,000.
In the first few weeks of January alone, Bradley raked in more than $48,000 in contributions, with a sizable chunk of those donations ($12,500) coming from individuals associated with The Ferguson Law Firm in Beaumont.
Conversely, Chappell raised $9,200.
From Jan. 26 to Feb. 24, Bradley collected $91,707.88 in contributions, a staggering amount when compared to Chappell, who collected around $9,000 in that same timeframe.
Campaign finance records show attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin, the founders of the Houston law firm Arnold & Itkin, gave a total of $7,500 to Bradley.
Beaumont attorney Brent Coon and his firm also shelled out $5,000.
Bradley has been in the legal field since she was 17 years old and has lived in Beaumont since 1991.
Chappell is an attorney for the area law firm Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt and specializes in school law and employment defense litigation.
The Republican in the race, Templeton, has practiced law for 26 years and is currently a partner at the Beaumont law firm Templeton & Brinkley.