Sometimes, there’s just no telling what can happen in a primary election when a low-budget candidate takes on an established incumbent in a Texas intermediate appellate court race. For David Lewis, a Dallas solo who challenged longtime 5th Court of Appeals Justice Martin Richter in the Republican primary, it was a winning gamble.
Lewis says he only spent about $3,000 on the race, including $2,500 for the filing fee and $500 on a campaign video. And that was all it took, as Lewis won the May 29 Republican primary election with 54 percent of the vote over Richter’s 46 percent, according to the Texas secretary of state’s website.
“I guess the voters liked my story,” says Lewis, who shared some of his family’s history and touted his experience as a state and federal prosecutor in an online campaign video. “Well, and also, I went to a couple of Republican women’s groups. You have to go to those. They are the core of the party. I just think that the exposure that I did have, the events that I attended and my story are the reasons that I can put my finger on for the reason that I won.”
Richter did not immediately return a call for comment.
Lewis will face Democrat David Hanschen, a Dallas solo, in the general election.
Eric Kalenak, an incumbent on Eastland’s 11th Court of Appeals who Gov. Rick Perry appointed to the bench in July 2011, also lost his bench in the Republican primary.
Kalenak, a former Midland County assistant district attorney, won 33 percent of the vote, while his challenger, Mike Willson, a shareholder in Midland’s Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson, received 67 percent of the vote, according to the secretary of state’s website.
“It was a matter of getting your name out there, and it just didn’t happen for me,” Kalenak says. “I did want to say congratulations to him [Willson]. He did run a good race. And that’s the way it goes,” Kalenak says.
Willson did not immediately return a call for comment.
--- John Council