TX: Statewide Races Draw Interest
By David Brown
Some of the more closely watched races in this solidly red state are three being waged by prominent black Republicans.
The chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Wallace Jefferson, and one of the associate justices, Dale Wainwright -- both African Americans -- are running for reelection. Also running for another term is Michael Williams, the black chairman of the Railroad Commission, a state agency that issues oil and gas drilling permits, sets rates for natural gas in some parts of the state and has other energy-related regulatory functions.
The supreme court has nine members, all currently Republican. Various observers, including several newspaper editorial pages, have complained this is far too lopsided.
Three of the jurists are up for election this year. The state Democratic party invested nearly $1 million to buy television spots for the three Democrats running for the bench.
"We have a really good opportunity," Hector Nieto, the party spokesman said today.
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