Martinez will be first out Dallas County Justice of the Peace

Treasurer candidate Pauline Medrano, left, and County Commissioner Elba Garcia

Treasurer candidate Pauline Medrano, left, and County Commissioner Elba Garcia

With more than a 500 vote lead, Sara Martinez won her primary for Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, Place 1. She faces no Republican opposition in the fall and will become the first out JP in Dallas County. Martinez had the support of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

In other Dallas County runoffs, former City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano held a 20 point lead over her opponent Bennie Elnora Brown. Medrano said she was campaigning this evening until the polls closed at 7 p.m. and will continue campaigning hard through the fall election. She did well in many of the suburbs where she’s not as well known by working with precinct chairs and area Democratic clubs.

Felicia Pitre won the District Clerk runoff against Tarsha Hardy with more than 62 percent of the vote. Pitre works for current District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, who endorsed her as his successor.

Another Stonewall Democrats of Dallas-backed candidate who won her runoff was Katy Hubener for a Precinct 4 JP seat. Constable Beth Villareal held a slim lead over challenger Michael Orozco and that race remains too close to call. Villareal has Stonewall’s endorsement.

Statewide, David Alameel gained more than 70 percent of the vote in the race to become the Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Alameel beat Kesha Rogers whose platform is to impeach President Obama. Jim Hogan beat Kinky Friedman to run for Agriculture Commissioner.

In statewide Republican races, Sen. Dan Patrick beat incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Patrick faces Leticia Van de Putte in November for Lieutenant Governor.

Sen. Ken Paxton beat Rep. Dan Branch for the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Paxton faces Democrat Sam Houston in November.



—  David Taffet

Dan Branch claims Facebook yanked campaign ad over anti-gay content

Rep. Dan Branch

Rep. Dan Branch

Texas attorney general candidate Dan Branch’s campaign is claiming Facebook pulled one of his ads because it includes anti-gay hate speech. That might be humorous if it were true, but a Facebook spokesperson says the decision to pull the ad was a mistake.

Branch, a Republican state representative who represents part of Dallas’ Oak Lawn gayborhood, is among those vying to replace AG Greg Abbott, who’s stepping down to run for governor in 2014. In the ad released last week, Branch vows to protect Texas’ right to trample on the rights of women and gays.

“I will fight for our state’s right to protect the unborn, and our right to define a marriage as between one man and woman, and if some in Washington want to deny us our freedom, as they said at the Battle of Gonzalez, we’ve got four words for them here in Texas: ‘Come and take it,’” Branch says in the ad.

Facebook pulled the ad last Thursday for violating “community standards,” according to The Texas Tribune. However, a day later the ad was restored, and the site apologized.

“As our team processes more than 1 million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake,” Facebook said in a statement. “We worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the removal of this content, and we have already taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Additionally, we have removed any blocks on associated accounts.”

—  John Wright

LEGE UPDATE: Anti-gay Rep. Ken Paxton to seek Florence Shapiro’s State Senate seat in Plano

Sen. Florence Shapiro

State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, announced Monday that she will not seek re-election in 2012. Shapiro, who has served in theSenate since 1993, told the Texas Tribune that she is in  final negotiations for a job with a Texas-based education company.

Shapiro currently serves as chair of the Senate education committee, a crucial bottleneck for legislation dealing with anti-bullying efforts in Texas. Her support of both HB 1942 (the “super” anti-bullying bill) and HB 1386 (teen suicide prevention) during the 82nd regular legislative session this spring was crucial to both bills passing. Shapiro also voted in favor of legislation by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, that made the Texas HIV Medication Advisory Committee statutorily permanent.

Historically Shapiro’s support of the LGBT community has been limited to bills that don’t explicitly acknowledge the existence of LGBT people (for example, the two anti-bullying bills mentioned above). In 2001, when the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act was debated in the Texas Senate, Shapiro offered an amendment that would have rewritten the legislation to remove an enumerated list that included “sexual preference.”  The amendment failed.  When the Senate finally voted on the bill, with the enumerated list intact, Shapiro was one of 10 senators who opposed it. Shapiro also supported both the 2003 “Texas Defense of Marriage Act” and the 2005 constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality in Texas.

—  admin