Here (almost) Comes the Judge

Looking for a reason why judicial candidate Mary Ann "Kamikaze" Huey, the only Democrat with enough guts and self-delusions to run against a Republican judge in Dallas County, came within a gavel's throw of disrobing incumbent Bill Rhea? Wondering why Rhea, who had the unqualified endorsements of the legal establishment and The Dallas Morning News, nearly became the first judge in Dallas County in nearly a decade to get tossed out on his Republican keister?

Unqualified endorsements from lawyers might be one reason, of course. With friends like that...

Short coattails on the part of George W.--likely to be the Rutherford B. Hayes of the 21st century--might be part of it.

Faithful Democrats, presuming you can find any who 'fess up to it, will tell you it is the harbinger of millennial politics: The county is trending toward the Democratic Party, and Republicans better watch out. In other words, the patient is not quite completely dead, just mostly dead.

As for Huey, she'll tell you it was her Pollyanna optimism and 10 grueling months of pressing campaign literature into the hands of anyone who would take it that earned her 49.63 percent of the vote.

"Everywhere I met people, I told them that there were 56 judges in Dallas County, all of whom are Republican, and they said that is just not right," Huey told Buzz, though whether she was referring to the fact that there were so many judges or that they were Republicans was not quite clear.

But leave it to Buzz to tell you the real reason why Huey wasn't trounced, as pretty much everyone expected her to be. It was Rhea's own cheesy campaign placards that nearly did him in: red, white, and blue signs bearing the cheer: "Hip, Hip Who? Rhea." Huh? Rhea is hip? He's into hip-hop? Wha..? (Thankfully, his arrhythmic sloganeering didn't catch on. Imagine signs for Dubya urging voters to "Push in the Bush." Ick.)

Huey says she will be off and running again in 2002 for another bench. Maybe this time someone will believe her when she says she can win.

In the meantime, despite the close margin, Huey plans to be much more gracious than certain top-of-the-ticket people from her party.

"I am not going to demand a hand count or a recount," she says. "If it were 400, I might consider it, but 4,000? No way."

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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