Watch Instant Tea for election coverage

Vote 2010 Logo.colorWe’ll be live-blogging tonight’s primary election results right here on Instant Tea, so don’t forget to check back when polls close at 7 p.m. Here are some of the races we’ll be watching closely:

1. Openly gay Dallas County Judge Jim Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, faces an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination. Foster is being challenged by Highland Park attorney Clay Jenkins and Dallas Schools President Larry Duncan. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held April 6. Foster is the first openly gay incumbent previously endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas to not receive the group’s backing in a bid for re-election. Stonewall, which endorsed Foster in 2006, is backing Duncan this year. Jenkins also has his share of LGBT supporters, including openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons.

2. Foster and Fitzsimmons are two of four openly LGBT candidates on the ballot in Dallas County. Fitzsimmons should easily fend off a challenge from perennial candidate Johnny Gomez. Meanwhile, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem John Loza is one of four Democrats in the primary for County Criminal Court No. 5, where a runoff is also likely. Loza and Tony Parker are vying to become the first openly LGBT candidates elected to the judiciary in Dallas County. Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, doesn’t have an opponent in the primary.

3. Former Houston Mayor Bill White is the heavy favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. White’s most formidable challenger is hair care products tycoon Farouk Shami. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas has endorsed White. In the GOP primary, the question is whether incumbent Gov. Rick Perry will avoid a runoff against either U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Tea Party activist Debra Medina.

4. Rob Schlein, the openly gay president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, is running for precinct chair in his Far North Dallas neighborhood against Homer Adams, the husband of Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Cathie Adams. Cathie Adams, former president of the Texas Eagle Forum, has been one of the leading anti-gay voices in North Texas over the last few decades.

5. State Rep. Terri Hodge, a longtime LGBT ally in the House, pleaded guilty to a felony charge in February in connection with the Dallas City Hall corruption case, and is no longer eligible to hold public office. However, Hodge’s name still appears on the ballot, and if she receives more votes than the other candidate in District 100, Eric Johnson, the Democratic nominee will be decided by precinct chairs in the district. Another embattled Democrat, Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes, faces three primary challengers amid an ongoing criminal investigation of his office.

—  John Wright

Democratic AG candidate says constitutional amendment eliminates all marriages in Texas

Barbara Ann Radnofsky
Barbara Ann Radnofsky

You gotta love Barbara Ann Radnofsky. Why? Well, first of all, she’s basically accusing Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott of being a complete idiot.

Radnofsky, who’s running for AG as a Democrat in 2010, claims Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2005, actually invalidates all marriages in the state because of the way one of its clauses is worded, The Star-Telegram reports today. And Radnofsky blames Abbott, a Republican who’s been a strong supporter of the amendment, for not catching the error. The clause was designed to prevent same-sex domestic partnerships and civil unions, but Radnofsky says it actually opens the door to all sorts of marriage-related legal action. Here’s the clause she’s referring to, with key words bolded:

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Radnofsky, who worked for a powerful Houston law firm for decades before retiring a few years ago, calls the clause a “massive mistake” that “eliminates marriage in Texas.” She blames Abbott and says he should acknowledge the error and apologize. She also says another constitutional amendment might be required to fix it. She says she voted against the amendment anyway and didn’t realize the mistake until she started closely studying the Texas Constitution in preparation for her campaign.

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” Radnofsky tells The S-T. “Whoever vetted the language in [clause] B must have been asleep at the wheel.”

Radnofsky is scheduled to appear at 6:30 tonight at the Tarrant County Young Democrats Gubernatorial Forum at TCU. But I don’t even need to go. She’s already got my vote.

—  John Wright