Republicans line up for open Texas Supreme Court seat

Chris Rizo Feb. 22, 2010, 2:00am

Harriet O'Neill (R)

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline)-Six Republicans are running for an open seat on the Texas Supreme Court.

Among the GOP candidates to replace retiring Justice Harriet O'Neill, a Republican, on the high court are four state appeals court judges, a district court trial judge and a former state legislator.

The appeals court judges running for Place 3 are: Jeff Brown, Jim Moseley, Rick Strange and Rebecca Simmons. Also vying for O'Neill's seat is District Court Judge Debra Lehrmann and Rick Green, a former state representative.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Jim Sharp, a state appeals court judge, and Libertarian William Bryan Strange III in the November general election.

When it comes to fundraising, Strange, 50, who sits on the 11th Court of Appeals, leads the GOP pack. Strange has reported that his campaign raised $207,206 as of Jan. 21. In second was Moseley, 56, who sits on the 5th Court of Appeals. He reported that his campaign brought in $206,435.

Trailing were Simmons, 53, a member of the 4th Court of Appeals, who reported her campaign raised $201,218 as of the same date. Brown, 39, on the 14th Court of Appeals, raised $191,635 as of Jan. 21, while Green, a state representative from 1999 to 2003, raised $82,909, and Lehrmann, 53, author of the Texas Annotated Family Code, raised $82,904 as of Jan. 21.

When O'Neill retires in December, she will have completed her second six-year term. History suggests that voters in the Lone Star State will elect another Republican to the nine-member high court, given that Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to the state Supreme Court since 1994.

O'Neill was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1998 and reelected in 2004. O'Neill's judicial career began in 1992, after election to the 152nd District Court in Houston. In 1995, then-Gov. George W. Bush, a Republican, appointed her to the 14th Court of Appeals.

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