Trial lawyer money fails to push Bradley past Chappell in race to replace Judge Floyd

By David Yates | May 22, 2018

BEAUMONT – Despite the generous financial support she received from her fellow plaintiff’s attorneys, Tina Bradley could not overcome her Democratic rival, Melody Chappell, in the runoff race to become the next judge for the 172nd District Court.

The 172nd’s current judge, Donald Floyd, has sat behind the bench since 1989 and is retiring because of an age limit.

On May 22, at 9 p.m., Chappell, an attorney for the area law firm Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt, had 55 percent of the vote and was declared the winner.

She will face Republican Mitch Templeton, a partner at Templeton & Brinkley, in November.


Chappell was only able to land 43 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary, while Bradley, a partner at Hobson & Bradley, captured 35 percent.

From start to finish, Bradley led in funding and held a significant financial edge over Chappell throughout the race, according to campaign finance reports.

From Feb. 25 to May 12, Bradley collected more than $70,000 in political contributions. She also spent more than $134,000 leading up to the runoff.

During that time frame, attorneys for Read Morgan & Quinn, a Beaumont law firm specializing in toxic torts, showed their support for Bradley, donating a total of $13,000 to the plaintiff’s attorney, who also specializes in toxic torts.

RMQ attorneys haven’t been shy in their support for Bradley this election cycle.

Before the calendar flipped to 2018, Bradley raised $30,000 in donations – a third of which was supplied by RMQ attorneys.

In comparison, Chappell collected a little more than half that amount going into the New Year, raising around $17,000.

On May 18, just four days before runoff, Wayne Reaud, a founding partner at RMQ, made a $2,500 donation to Bradley.

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 in that time frame.

Paul “Chip” Ferguson and attorneys with his firm showed their support for Bradley throughout her campaign.

On May 11, Ferguson and his firm gave a total of $5,000 to Bradley’s campaign, records show.

In the final two months leading up to the runoff, dozens of area trial lawyers showed their support for Bradley by donating tens of thousands of dollars.

Prior to the March primary, Bradley collected $91,707.88 in contributions from Jan. 26 to Feb. 24, a staggering amount when compared to Chappell, who collected around $9,000 in that same timeframe.

During that time, attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin, the founders of the Houston law firm Arnold & Itkin, gave a total of $7,500 to Bradley, campaign finance records show.

Beaumont attorney Brent Coon and his firm also shelled out $5,000.

From Feb. 26 to May 12, Chappell raised a little less than $23,000, campaign finance reports show.

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Organizations in this Story

Jefferson County District Court Reaud, Morgan & Quinn LLP The Ferguson Law Firm LLP

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