The race to pick a Republican to replace the excellent Judge Jan Yarbrough in the 306th Family District Court in Galveston County has taken a nasty and scary turn. It is now a nasty race because the two leading candidates are busy calling each other “liars” (only one is correct). The race is scary because most attorneys cannot imagine how it would be if one of those candidates were to get elected.
Anne Darring, Wilfried Schmitz and Jennifer Burnett are seeking the Republican nomination and there is no Democrat even running. Darring has the support of virtually all of the attorneys who have taken a public position in the race (over 70) and Schmitz has not surprisingly become the darling of the Tea Party extremists. Ms. Burnett is a nice young attorney working in the District Attorney’s office with no real experience handling divorces or custody cases in the private world and she lacks the resources to compete with Schmitz and Darring. Darring has been involved in Republican activities but clearly was once a Democrat (like Ronald Reagan and Rick Perry once were) and has a big base of volunteers and supporters. Schmitz has apparently never voted in a primary before but has contributed to a lot of Democrats (oh, the horror!). This race is likely to be headed toward a runoff and that should be great fun to watch.
Schmitz brags that he is the only attorney in the race who is board certified in Family Law, but he does not mention how many times he failed the board certification test before finally passing it. He also does not acknowledge why almost no family law attorneys in the local area are supporting him (answer: we know him). Schmitz in many ways is very smart and for all I know, he might turn out to be a good judge, like those attorneys who are total pains in the ass to litigate against but surprisingly are really good mediators.
Attorneys know Anne Darring has the broad experience and even temperament (and lack of oversize ego) to be a good judge. Darring is also a parent who has actually raised children, which is perhaps a good quality to have in a family court judge.
Schmitz has recently accused Darring of supporting Obamacare and lying about it (which is the equivalent of calling your opponent a child molester in a Democratic primary race). Schmitz claims he called Darring about this dastardly dirt from her past and Darring immediately deleted an old Facebook post that said she supported what thinking people call “The Affordable Care Act.” The problem is that Schmitz has simply got it all factually wrong. Schmitz called Darring to get a mutual promose that they would “keep the campaign clean” and “not get dirty.” Darring never deleted the Facebook post in question and it did not say she supported Obamacare.
1. Two weeks ago, I personally called Ms. Darring and asked her specifically about her support of Obamacare. She denied it.
2. I pointed out to Ms. Darring her posting on Facebook of her support of Obamacare.
3. Ms. Darring subsequently removed the posting from her Facebook profile.
4. Ms. Darring, upon removing the post, accused me publicly of lying about her support of Obamacare.
5. Fortunately, I had saved a screenshot of her posting.
This is the Facebook post from 2009 by Ms. Darring that is still easy to find on her Facebook timeline:
Way back in 2009, Darring had apparently simply reposted an on-line petition, which called on President Obama to include an expansion of Medicare or Medicaid as one of the insurance options if he was going to push through his health care reforms. At the time, the organization circulating the petition was critical of the direction Obama’s health care reform was taking and it is absolutely not accurate to say that anyone reposting this on-line petition was saying they supported what is now called, “Obamacare.”
So, Mr. Schmitz:
1. Was not truthful about Darring trying to hide her “support of Obamacare” by deleting her Facebook post because she did not delete it. Darring’s 2009 post is still there! Ironically, Schmitz has now deleted his own Facebook post falsely accusing Darring of lying.
2. Was at best extremely misleading when he twisted this 2009 post to mean Darring supported the dreaded Obamacare. Literally, she was urging the President to consider expanding Medicare as an alternative to a system run by insurance companies with penalties for not buying insurance.
This kind of desperate, last-minute attack on Darring is exactly what the lawyers who have practiced against Schmitz would have expected, even after he called his opponent and promised “not to fight dirty.”
I am starting to miss Judge Yarbrough already.