The GOP needs to rally behind Rick Green, and needs to do so quickly.
Someday, the Dems will break our lock on statewide offices. The only real questions are when it is going to happen and which statewide race will be the bellwether for the Dems.
While the media is always looking at the top of the ticket, the truth is that the Dems are more competative in statewide judicial races than in any other statewide contest:
In 2008, who led the statewide Dems? It was statewide judicial candidate Sam Houston, who got almost 140,000 more votes than the top-of-the-statewide-ticket senate candidate who got all the media fuss.
In 2006, who led the statewide Dems? It was statewide judicial candidate Bill Moody (who's back again this election), and Moody got way over 300,000 more votes than the top-of-the-ticket senate and governor candidates.
In 2004, the top Dem vote-getter was statewide judicial candidate J.R. Molina.
In 2002, statewide judicial candidate Margaret Mirabal and lieutenant governor candidate John Sharp (does that name sound familiar?) were the top Dem vote-getters and both out-performed the top of the ticket governor and senate candidates.
In 2000, the top Dem vote-getter was statewide judicial candidate Bill Vance.
When we lose our grip on a statewide office, it will be a statewide judicial candidate who serves as the Dems' bellwether.
Also, based on past election returns, it will likely be a non-presidential-election year when we finally lose a statewide election (because the Dems have come closer in non-presidential-election years as compared to presidential-election years).
What we must ask is will 2010 be the non-presidential-election year when a statewide Dem judicial candidate breaks through? And if so, who?
If 2010 is the year when the levee breaks, Jim Sharp has got to be the leading candidate to break through.
Among the statewide judicial races in 2010, Texas Supreme Court place 3 will be the only one to put a Dem appellate judge against a GOP candidate with no appellate judge experience.
In the state bar poll, the Texas Supreme Court place 3 was the only race where the Dem won the poll of lawyers.
When the Dems cracked the GOP lock on the Houston appellate courts, the judicial candidate who broke through was none other than Jim Sharp.
Plus, Sharp is a good ballot name.
So, if Jim Sharp presents the best chance for the Dems to crack the GOP lock on statewide offices, who do we want as the GOP candidate to withstand that charge?
It has to be Rick Green. Debra Lehrmann has (1) a bad ballot name, (2) no big city base of support, (3) a narrow specialization in family law which makes up only a tiny portion of the supreme court docket, and -- most importantly -- (4) no credibility within the "Republican-wing" of the GOP.
You may ask, what about Rick Green, who also lacks a big city base of support and does not have an appellate law background? What Rick has is better: Rick has bona fides in GOP activist circles. He is a true believer in conservative causes. His resume may not look like the resume of all the other judges on the high court, but that is his greatest asset. Rick Green will bring common sense and conservative values to the court, and Debra Lehrmann will not. At least we know that Rick Green will get all the GOP votes in November, which ought to be enough to carry the day. The same cannot be said for Lehrmann, who would be destined to lose if she's our candidate against Jim Sharp.