BEAUMONT – Judge Kent Walston won’t face a challenger for the 58th District Court this November, but that didn’t stop the Jefferson County trial bar from investing tens of thousands of dollars in his campaign.
A former partner at Branick & Devenzio, Walston, a Democrat, was first elected in 2014 – a victory fueled with contributions from his fellow plaintiff’s attorneys.
And while he’s running unopposed in 2018, not even facing a challenger in the March Primary, Walston’s campaign is still being bolstered by the area trial lawyers who routinely file lawsuits in Jefferson County.
According to the latest round of campaign finance reports available, Walston has collected more than $42,000 in contributions so far this election cycle – a large chunk of which has gone back to two of Beaumont’s most notable asbestos law firms – Provost Umphrey and Reaud Morgan and Quinn.
Records show Provost Umphrey (PU) managing partner Bryan Blevins gave $2,500 to Walston, as did PU partners James Payne, Joe Fisher and David Wilson.
As an entity, the PU law firm also shelled out a $2,500 contribution.
PU attorneys Edward Fisher and Djuana Parks each donated $1,250 to Walston.
In all, PU and its attorneys contributed a total of $12,500 -- $11,875 of which was given back to the firm as a campaign contribution reimbursement, records show.
Reaud Morgan and Quinn (RMQ) attorneys were also generous.
Glenn Morgan, a RMQ partner, donated $2,500 to Walston, as did RMQ attorneys Curtis Leister, Sheigh Rhodes and John Werner.
As an entity, the RMQ law firm gave $2,500, matching PU’s total of $12,500.
Campaign finance records show Walston gave a $6,875 campaign reimbursement to Reaud & Associates and also made an $11,875 campaign reimbursement to the RMQ law firm.
Over the years, the Record has reported on the large sums of money given by PU and RMQ to local Judge Donald Floyd, who is set to retire from the 172nd District Court.
Furthermore, RMQ and PU donated tens of thousands of dollars to Walston’s 2014 campaign when he ran against Republican Tom Rugg, records show.
Other notable Golden Triangle attorneys also made significant contributions to Walston’s campaign this election cycle.
Jon Burmeister and Tommy Yeates, both Moore Landry attorneys, donated a total of $5,000.
Paul (Chip) Ferguson, founder of the Ferguson Law Firm in Beaumont, gave $2,500, so did his partner, Jane Leger.
Weller Green Toups & Terrell and its attorney Terrell B. gave a total of $5,000.