75th District Judge- CT "Rusty" Hight(D), perceived controller of judge candidate- Michelle Merendino(R), poison pill candidate
For those who have asked Judge Cain to consider running in the Republican Party over the years, it has been amazing to watch the “win at all cost” politicians go after him. Some Democrats and some self serving Republicans have made it their business to throw mud at him in the form of exaggerations, rumors, and just plain ole lies. Most people would expect that if anyone could switch parties and not be the victim of a mudslinging smear it would be a district judge because they generally stay clear of most of the public politics. District Judges across the state generally try to maintain a low profile in order to assure people of all political persuasions that the courts are not about politics. With that said, it is amazing that Judge Cain, one of the top vote getters in the last twenty years, inherited so many enemies among the persistent political operatives as they exaggerate, fabricate, and spin nasty lies about someone that public has known for years.
If the only deception local politicos tried to smear Judge Cain with was their response to Judge Cain’s declaration that he could no longer stand by quietly while Judge Fitzgerald manipulated taxpayer money during the storm recovery that would be one thing. But after Cain stood up in commissioner’s court and voiced objections to the way FEMA money was being distributed, those who didn’t like Cain opening up the courthouse to questions of integrity and corruption tried to deflect the public’s attention. They tried to get people to look away from the discovery of hundreds of thousands of FEMA dollars going to individuals connected with Fitzgerald to talking about several thousands of dollars being paid to people who work for the county and Judge Cain. These politicos were hoping Liberty County citizens would be distracted and question salaries being paid by two different counties because the 253rd District Court is shared by Liberty and Chambers County. But all of the questions were answered and there was no scandal. Citizens have been informed that all of this a matter of public record and all of the decisions have been part of the budgeting process that Fitzgerald and every other County Judge get to vote on every year. Recently all of this has been dismissed as just mudslinging politics and the media reports have confirmed everything has been done correctly. But questions about the distribution of over a million dollars of FEMA money by County Judge Fitzgerald continue to be asked. So it looks like these people will continue to try and deflect our attention and the public may have to endure more attacks on Judge Cain as authorities and the courts decide County Judge Fitzgerald’s fate.
The rumor mill is the next place the people wanting Judge Cain’s opponent and this team of candidates elected have decided to try and defeat Judge Cain because of his public comments about Fitzgerald’s misuse of FEMA money and his lack of a proper bidding process. Even though Cain’s opponent has almost unquestionable ties to the Democratic Party as she practically advertises that she is teamed with Democratic Judge Rusty Hight, Democratic County Court at Law Judge candidate Zack Zbranek, and Democratic County Judge Phil Fitzgerald, the politicos are spreading the rumor that Judge Cain publicly visits with several of the Democratic candidates and appears to have friendly enough relationships with them that he might not be upset if they win the position they are seeking. People on this team are trying to convince Republicans to punish Cain for agreeing to switch parties; and they are wanting us to reward his opponent for just now joining the Republican Party. Again, these people are practicing deflection and deception. But they are not very good at it. Judge Cain has been a Judge in the courthouse for almost two decades and people know him and he has many friends – Democrats and Republicans. What kind of human being would shun his friends and colleagues just because he switched parties? Cain’s opponent has no real bonafide connection to either party and she has no record of how she would serve as Judge. If anything people from both political parties ought to wonder who this newcomer is and if she is just saying what she thinks they want to hear. Cain, like several famous conservative Texas Democrats over the years ( i.e. Governor John Conally, Governor Rick Perry. Senator Phil Gramm), switched parties and has a long record of serving as a Judge. Like these famous men, people know Cain is a great person to have on your side, but he not only has a strong pro law enforcement record, he has a solid record of fairness and nonpartisan jurisprudence.
So far everything discussed here may sound like typical election time rhetoric and just part of the junk we all have to endure when politicians are involved, but this seems to be falling quickly to a much lower level than mere deception to what are just simply lies and even possible illegal behavior. Those who want to sour Republican primary voters on Judge Cain may have recently committed a crime to try and obtain mud to throw at the Judge. In addition, it is highly likely that some may have even taped Judge Cain (without telling him) as they tried to get him to say his switching parties was really just until after the primary when he would switch back. Not only are these actions meant to perpetuate lies and to give the public a false impression of the Judge so people will vote for his opponent, but some of this could be prosecutable. Beyond all of that, it is all just plain stupid. Committing Watergate-like crimes, or at the very least behaving in an unethical manner, only hurts the campaign whose supporters act out in this kind of manner. And by the way, no one in the history of elections has done anything as stupid as these mudslinging deceivers want us to believe with their “switching back rumor”.
While Judge Cain may want to stay out of all of the mudslinging and malicious lies and rumors and maintain the image he feels best serves the public and while he may want to remain someone who doesn’t get so involved in politics that he cannot serve as effectively as possible as Judge, some of us are not as inclined to be quiet. We believe Republican primary voters, as well as fair-minded independents and Democrats, should know what is going on so they can reject this kind of politics. And while we are not so inclined necessarily to point a finger at Judge Cain’s opponent to blame her for all of this, nevertheless the misinformation and the lies are meant to benefit her and those politicians she has decided to associate with.
If Judge Cain’s opponent wants to engage in some kind of class warfare and try to appeal to voters to reject someone who has made over 10,000 rulings with about as close to no complaints as any judge in Texas, that is more in the range of what politicians do, but if she wants to stay above the lies and the illegal activity, she needs to publicly disavow and discourage this kind of smear campaign.