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Taking Stock of the Vote BY JAMES CULLEN Austin GEORGE BUSH WON Texas and its 32 votes in the general election. Yes, and Santa Anna won the battle of the Alamo. But while Bush was fighting to secure his home base in Texas, Bill Clinton was fighting in states such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky to solidify an Electoral College victory. At the state level, the Republican “victory” was mixed. A net gain of four seats in the Texas Senate will give Republicans more leverage in that chamber, which for the past decade has been something of a progressive bastion, but Democrats noted that the .GOP gains, helped by a redistricting plan drawn and ordered by Republican federal judges, still left it short of the long-sought GOP dominance. When the Dallas Morning News polled 1,027 registered Texas voters in September, the newspaper found a practically even race for President between incumbent Republican Bush and Democrat Clinton, while Democrat Lena Guerrero held a 5-percentage-point lead over Republican Barry Williamson in the race for the Texas Railroad Commission. . But after the embarrassing disclosure that Guerrero had not received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas as she had claimed, Williamson, a Dallas lawyer and former minerals manager for the U.S. Department of the Interior in the Reagan and Bush admin istrations, swept all eight regions of the state. Business interests also maintained control of the Texas Supreme Court, as they poured money into the campaign of Craig Enoch, a Republican judge on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Dallas who toppled Justice Oscar Mauzy, one of the court’s most liberal members, but hopes for a Republican majority on the high court were dashed by Rose Spector’s upset victory over GOP incumbent Justice Eugene Cook. Spector, a 58-year-old Democrat who served 17 years as a county and state district judge in San Antonio, appealed to the need to put a woman on the high court while Cook tried to depict her as a tool of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, as Enoch tied Mauzy to the plaintiff’s lawyers. In the other Supreme Court race, Justice Jack Hightower, a conservative Democrat, beat Republican John D. Montgomery, a state district judge from Houston. DEMOCRATS WON two of three races for the Court of Criminal Appeals, but the upset of interim Judge Fortunato “Pete” Benavides by 32,000 votes made Lawrence Meyers the first Republican elected to the court in an outcome that Benavides and minority groups offered as proof that Latinos face discrimination in at-large court races. Benavides, a former judge on the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi, was appointed to the court by Richards in 1991 and had the endorsement of every major newspaper in Texas except the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the hometown paper of Meyers, a judge on the 2nd Court of Appeals who did little campaigning and who all but conceded the race to Benavides on election eve. In Dallas-area court races, Richards appointees won two of four contested seats on the 5th Court of Appeals. Ron Chapman won with 52 percent and Barbara Rosenburg with 51 percent defeated former District Judge Jack Hampton, a Republican who was censured by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct in 1988 after he said he gave a murderer a light sentence partly because his victims were “queers.” Interim Judge Kevin Wiggins, the first African American to serve on the Dallas appeals court, lost to Republican state District Judge Joseph B. Morris, who got 54.5 percent, and interim Judge Jeff Kaplan lost to Will Barber, a lawyer who got 52.1 percent. Democrats won one of three contested district court races, as John Creuzot, who is black, narrowly won with 50.03 percent of the vote, a victory ‘margin of 333 out of 575,515 cast, while interim Judge Jerry Birdwell, who is openly gay, narrowly lost to Republican John Nelms, a former assistant district attorney who got 52.2 percent of the vote and benefitted from an anti-gay campaign. But Birdwell attributed the loss to the strong Republican vote in Dallas County. Democratic interim Judge Jan Hemphill also lost to Republican Janice Warder, who got 53.2 percent. In Houston-area court races, Republican Adele Hedges capitalized on controversy over the appointment of a judge on the 1st Court of Appeals to defeat Gaynelle Jones, a former federal prosecutor who was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards as the first AfricanAmerican woman on either of the two Houston appeals courts after Democratic state senators blocked two earlier nominees. In TV ads, Hedges noted the miscues over filling the vacancy and she won with 51.6 percent of the vote. In races for the 14th Court of Appeals, Democratic state District Judge Norman Lee with 51.8 percent beat Republican Harvey Hudson and Henry Burkholder with 50.7 percent of the votes appeared to squeeze by Republican Gary Bowers until a tally of 42,170 write-in votes two days after the election led to the reversal of outcomes in four judicial races, including the appeals court race, as well as a legislative race. Bowers was among the new winners. John Devine’s 39,183 write-in votes did not threaten Judge Eileen O’Neill, who had ordered anti-abortion protesters to stay away from abortion clinics during the Republican National Convention, but other Republican candidates got as many as 33,000 votes from Devine’s fundamentalist Christian supporters. One of the three district judges who saw their victories turn to defeats was interim Judge John H. Kyles, the only ‘black judicial candidate on the ballot, raising more questions about the ability of minority candidates to win at-large elections in Harris County. In Fort Worth, 2nd Court of Appeals Chief Justice Tod Weaver, a Republican who has two years left on his term as chief justice, got 53 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Doyle Willis Jr., a workers compensation administrative judge, for a six-year term as an associate justice. Republicans swept all nine contested district court seats in Tarrant County. In San Antonio, Republican state District Judge Torn Rickhoff got 51 percent of the vote to unseat Democratic incumbent Ron Carr from the 4th Court of Appeals while the Democrats won three of four contested district court races. In other appeals court races, Democratic incumbent Justice Susan Larsen won a term on the 8th Court of Appeals with 57 percent of the vote and Carlton Dodson apparently won another term ori’the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo by 245 votes over Republican lawyer Jairl Dowell of Amarillo. EXAS RECEIVED three new Congres sional districts in the reapportionment following the 1990 census, and the state’s delegation grew to 30 members. Democrats’ 19 8 advantage will increase to 21-9 in the new Congress as they picked up three new minority dominated districts in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston but lost one incumbent out of a half dozen Democratic seats targeted by the GOP. Hot checks, a new house in an exclusive neighborhood and a federal investigation of influence-peddling allegations were too much for Rep. Albert G. Bustamente, D-San Antonio, who lost to Republican Henry Bonilla of San Antonio in District 23, which stretches from San Antonio to Laredo and north to El Paso along the Rio Grande. Bonilla, a TV producer, got 59 percent of the vote, including 81 per cent in Bexar County, as he tapped voter anger with questions about how Bustamante, who played up his humble origins in his 1984 elec tion, had acquired wealth in the past eight years in Congress. Bustamante did not rule out a comeback try, but four-term state Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, already has announced he will run for the seat in 1994. In other hot races, colorful incumbent Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Lukfin, got 56.3 percent of the vote to beat conservative Republican THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7