I had the opportunity to listen to criminal defense attorney Keith Hampton speak twice in as many days about his race to unseat Republican Appeals Court Justice Sharon “Killer” Keller. This may just be the race that puts a Democrat in a statewide office for the first time since 1994.
You may recall Killer Keller’s infamous 2007 refusal to admit defense lawyers into her office because they had arrived 20 minutes after office hours. She uttered the infamous words “we close at 5.” One hour later, their client, convicted murderer Michael Richard was put to death.
For this, Keller received a reprimand from the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Related to this is a record-breaking fine of $100,000 from the TEC for her fuzzy math on her campaign finance reports.
Now get this, Republicans are just as embarrassed over this Appeals Court Justice, as Democrats are outraged. In a recent polling of 9300 Texas Bar members, Hampton received a 52% approval rating compared to Killer Keller’s 38%.
Now sure, Keller is going to benefit from the votes of straight ticket Republicans, but more than one voter has admitted that they would simply withhold their votes for Keller.
This is, in short, the best opportunity we have to retake a statewide office. This could be only the start.