The last day for ballots to be received by mail (not postmarked) will be Oct. 30, and the last day to vote early by personal appearance is Nov. 2. Election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.
As always, we encourage voters to study the candidates and issues and DO NOT vote a straight party ballot. Neither side has a monopoly on the most qualified candidates.
At the top, we strongly encourage votes be cast for Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan (R) for president and vice president. Romney, a successful businessman, is eminently more qualified to tackle the staggering problems plaguing our U.S. economy, lack of jobs and high unemployment, soaring national debt and deficit spending. By cutting the tax rates for all Americans, encouraging domestic energy production and repealing Obamacare, his five-point plan should jump-start this anemic recovery.
For U.S. senator, Ted Cruz (R) has been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business and Texas Association of Business. Cruz told NFIB that his top priority, if elected, will be to shrink the size and scope of federal government and to repeal the new healthcare law. He believes regulation and tax reform are the best ways to encourage business growth and job creation.
For U.S. representative, District 34, Jessica Puente Bradshaw (R), the Tea Party favorite, would prioritize the economy, jobs and a balanced budget. She emphasizes a commitment to being pro-life and lists border security and state’s rights among her top issues.
For railroad commissioners, we support Christi Craddock (R) and Barry Smitherman (R). Smitherman, the chairman, is well qualified and proved his leadership abilities while serving on the Public Utility Commission. Craddick said she plans to aggressively promote the Texas energy industry and defend it from what she calls overreaching federal environmental regulations.
For Texas Supreme Court justices, Don Willett (R) and Nathan Hecht (R) are our preferences along with one abstention. Hecht is the longest serving judge in the court’s history and his knowledge and experience make him a valuable asset to the high court. Willett has served as a justice on the Supreme Court since 2005 and also has extensive legal experience. Although we preferred Justice David Medina, who lost in the GOP primary, John Devine (R) calls himself a strict constitutional judge and has no serious competition.
For presiding judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Keith Hampton (D) is being strongly recommended by the state’s major daily newspapers. He has broad judicial experience, is endorsed by seven former state bar presidents and is respected across the political spectrum for his record and expertise. His controversial opponent, Judge Sharon Keller, has been in the national headlines for violating the court’s execution-day procedures and charged with misconduct.
For Court of Criminal Appeals judges, Barbara Parker Hervey (R) and Elsa Alcala (R) should be returned to their places on the bench. Judge Hervey was elected to the state court in 2000 and was assistant criminal district attorney in the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office for 16 years. Judge Alcala was appointed to the court in May 2011. Prior to that, she served for nine years as a justice on the First Court of Appeals.
For State Board of Education, District 3, we offer no endorsement, after previously backing the incumbent, Democrat Michael Soto, who was defeated in the primary.
For state senator, District 21, Judith Zaffirini (D), the longtime incumbent, is by far one of the easiest choices. The second highest-ranking Texas state senator, she also is the highest-ranking woman and Hispanic senator. She has a legendary work ethic and career-long 100 percent voting record. Sen. Zaffirini has a passion for improving public education, higher education and health and human services, and has been a good friend of Coastal Bend College and Bee County.
For state representative, District 43, J.M. Lozano (R), the incumbent who switched from the Democrats, is a small businessman from Kingsville. The pro-life, conservative legislator is a member of the House energy and agriculture committees and has the backing of state GOP leaders, including former Rep. José Aliseda, the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Oil & Gas Association and other groups.
For justice, 13th Court of Appeals District, we encourage votes for Tom Greenwell (R), Nelda Rodriguez (D) and Gina Benavides (D). Greenwell is the respected judge of the 319th District Court; incumbent Rodriguez is highly experienced and has served on this court since 1995; and Benavides again is cited as a highly accomplished incumbent.
Janna Whatley (R), the incumbent district judge, 343rd Judicial District, has been elected to that position since 2000, is well respected by local attorneys and should be returned again.
Contested county races will be considered later.
– Chip & Jeff Latcham