Justice Lehrmann Loses Endorsement, Tort Reform Cited
Also, just so you know, state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, is running for re-election, and former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis commits early to Hillary Clinton.
Judge Michael Massengale has received an endorsement from TEXPAC, the political arm of the Texas Medical Association, in his run for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court.
TEXPAC chair Bradford Holland said the group believes Massengale — who was appointed to the First Court of Appeals in 2009 — will best “help both patients and physicians” and “interpret the law in a fair and objective manner.”
TEXPAC discussed the endorsement at last week’s fall conference. In announcing the endorsement, the Massengale campaign noted that two authors of the 2003 landmark Texas Medical Liability Act — Joe Nixon and Jaime Capelo — penned a letter in support of Massengale.
Massengale is challenging the incumbent, Debra Lehrmann, who was appointed and then elected to the Court in 2010.
In their letter, Nixon and Capelo make clear that they don’t believe Lehrmann has supported the tort reforms written into their legislation.
“Lehrmann,” Nixon and Capelo wrote, “has disagreed with her colleagues and sought to weaken the tort reforms by refusing to apply them as written. In the case of the 10-year statute of repose, she alone on the Court would hold it unconstitutional.”
State Rep. Byron Cook a top target of conservative activists during the last legislative session, is making clear that he is running for re-election.
Unlike some incumbents, the Corsicana Republican has not made an official announcement about his future plans. An ad that reportedly ran over the weekend in his hometown newspaper indicated that he was seeking a seventh term.
Bryan Eppstein, Cook's political consultant, said Monday that there has been no question about the lawmaker's plans.
"Byron's always been running for re-election," Eppstein said. "Byron's been actively campaigning since the end of the session."
Cook's re-election prospects have been questioned by critics to his right who accused him during the session of meddling with anti-abortion, anti-union and ethics reform legislation. Cook already has a primary challenger in Thomas McNutt, part of the family that owns Corsicana-based Collin Street Bakery.
El Paso state Rep. Cesar Blanco spent Wednesday at the White House where he took part in a meeting between the President and Democratic state legislators.
In remarks to the legislators, Barack Obama told them a dysfunctional political culture in Washington, D.C., makes their jobs more important.
“Now, given that, at least for the next year, year and a half, there’s not going to be the kind of action on a wide range of issues that we’d like to see coming out of Capitol Hill, that puts more of a burden — but also a great opportunity — on state legislatures all across the country,” Obama said. “Because you can act when Washington won’t.”
Bennett Ratliff, a former state representative running for the House District 115 seat, has received endorsements from two current and four former mayors in the district – Coppell Mayor Karen Hunt, Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps, former Mayor of Farmers Branch Bill Binford, former Mayor of Carrollton Becky Miller and former Mayors of Coppell, Candy Sheehan and Doug Stover.
“I’m honored to have the support of our community leaders,” said Ratliff in a statement. “Their endorsements show the community’s desire for effective, conservative leadership in Austin.”
State Rep. Matt Rinaldi won the seat in 2014, beating out Ratliff who held it since 2013. Rinaldi is running for re-election.
Wendy Davis, former Democratic candidate for governor, stepped back into political life Wednesday by formally endorsing Hillary Clinton for president — and taking to task one of her GOP rivals for the White House.
After announcing her support for Clinton at an Austin coffee shop, Davis told reporters Cruz's fight to defund Planned Parenthood disqualifies him from the presidency. Cruz has not ruled out shutting down the federal government in his push to cut off taxpayer dollars for the women's health organization.
"The idea that we are playing with people's lives, that we are willing to shut the government down in order to make a political point ... shows that Ted Cruz and others that are in agreement with him are absolutely not fit to lead this country," Davis said.
Davis' remarks drew a nearly immediate response from Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier, who took to Twitter to call Davis' criticism the "MOST ABSURD STATEMENT OF THE DAY."
Disclosure: The Texas Medical Association is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
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