Well, it’s silly season again. Or, as some people call it, the Harris County Republican Party primary season. Throughout this season, we’ll take a look at some of the more ‘interesting’ races.
Today we’ll glance at the race for Harris County Criminal Court 8. If you look at the comparison page for this one, you go, hmm. I mean, on the one hand, you have an incumbent that has been an attorney for 34 years, has been an elected judge in Court 8 since 2003, has received above average marks in the annual ‘bar polls’, has presided over hundreds of cases and as best as I can tell hasn’t been controversial or singled out as a ‘bad’ judge. Plus, he’s been an ambassador for the Republican party as you can see by his Republican Involvement activities.
On the other hand, you have a challenger that has been an attorney roughly 5 years and was an Assistant District Attorney for 3 1/2 years of that.
Like I said, it makes you go, hmm. And it especially makes you go hmm when you see the challenger’s endorsements. Why would three guys who supposedly care about the growth of the party and winning in November want to ditch a solid judge who also happens to be an ambassador for the party? Sorry, I don’t have an answer for that one, you’ll have to figure it out for yourself.
When I met with Mr. Simons to ask him about his campaign and his reasons for running against an incumbent, the impression I left with was that he really does think that Judge Karahan shows favoritism towards attorneys that donate to his campaign. He also had an issue with Judge Karahan running a wedding business out of the court, although he insisted that his problem was with the business, not the fact that Judge Karahan has officiated same-sex weddings.
I can’t comment about the alleged favoritism shown to campaign contributors other than to say that if that were true, you would think that someone would have brought it up over the course of the 15 years that Judge Karahan has been on the bench. Perhaps it is one of those open secrets that no one talks about but it seems odd.
The wedding thing is disappointing to me. When I left our meeting, I believed that he was really concerned about the business and not about the same-sex angle. In fact, I even told people that I didn’t think that he was some sort of anti-gay marriage warrior and that he had a legitimate complaint about the wedding business being advertised on Judge Karahan’s campaign website. After all, that seems a bit out of the ordinary.
Alas, I suppose I was wrong. Well, maybe not wrong entirely but clearly Mr. Simons has decided to use that same-sex marriage dog whistle to attract anti-gay marriage folks like Dr. Hotze and Terry Lowry.
Never Dan Simons – Weddings from RREA Media on Vimeo.
That video comes from a website set up by Judge Karahan called NeverDanSimons.com. If you watch it, you’ll see Mr. Simons casually drop the line that Judge Karahan does “both same-sex and traditional” marriages. It makes me sad to see that but I’m sure it makes Dr. Hotze and Terry Lowry jump for joy.
Not that Judge Karahan comes off looking great on his own attack site. From the website:
Dan Simons falsely asserts that Judge Karahan has a “side business” performing “over 500 weddings during court time”, “has a website dedicated to this”, “advertises these services”, and performs weddings, which should be “left to the civil courts”.
Since 2003 Judge Karahan has been honored to promote the sanctity of marriage and the creation of families by performing weddings for fee, as is his right under the Texas Family Code. These weddings are performed during lunch hour, periodic court recess, after court hours or on weekends, in the same manner as many other judges and JPs perform weddings at their offices across Texas. Judge Karahan has a campaign website, as do many judges, with informational tabs, only one of which discusses how to obtain a marriage license, logistics for parking, times and locations etc. He does not and has never advertised his wedding services.
Goodness. Here is a screenshot of Judge Karahan’s wedding business page on his campaign website:
There is even a form at the bottom that you can fill out if you want him to officiate your wedding. If that isn’t advertising, what is it?
Attorney Mark Bennett noticed the attack site and posted the law on Online Impersonation. Dang we have a lot of useless laws on the books.
So anyway, that is a short glance at the race. And at the same time, a glance at the slates and how and why they ‘endorse’ certain candidates. I’m sure that there will be much more to come in this one.
Inexperienced “Hate Candidates” aren’t needed in Harris County. When you look at the facts you will see that the only reason for Simons running is the pay-to-play hate mongers. I’m sticking with Karahan.
Jay Karahan says
David, two points in reply to your generally spot-on article.
First, Miriam-Webster defines “advertising” as 1 : the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements. This is not what I do on the information tab (1 of 9) on my non-government judicial, campaign website. That tab is informational – wedding couples have to look for me and if they find the site, they get information on how I can officiate for them. This is no different than the couple looking for a justice of the peace who walks into their government office with a marriage license and asks for a wedding. The JP’s fee schedule for services are often posted at those offices (they make out rather handsomely with weddings they do there, I hear, unless they’re the ones threatened off from officiating weddings by the slates…).
But, and this is an important distinction, I don’t list “officiant for hire” or wedding fees at my government offices. We may get a walk-in couple every few months since I’m on the district clerk’s list with 13 other Republican judges who also make themselves available to officiate weddings. I’ve averaged about 30 or so weddings a year since 2003, which doesn’t really make me prime a candidate for incorporation and hiring a comptroller, but I do enjoy doing them and I’m good at it. My CPA and I assure you every penny is reported on my tax returns.
Second, you make no mention in the article of my opponent’s considerable judgment, managerial and promotion problems in his very few years of law practice while in the DA’s office. Does he get a pass from you for that? The site we established to rebut his numerous outlandish assertions and claims has the kind of easily accessible documentary back-up that media outlets slaver for.
Does my collateral wedding service that never interferes with my highly-rated work in Court 8, including managing an additional specialty therapeutic SOBER Court docket for repeat DWI offenders for no extra pay, really merit more of your criticism than my opponent’s flawed candidacy?
Cypress Texas Tea Party says
I get a sense that having the endorsement of the slates is starting to be considered a negative in the eyes of true politically aware conservatives, however, I’m afraid most Republican Primary voters may not be in that category and use the slates for their only source of information before casting their votes.