Conservative Judge in Liberal County Has His Game Plan and He's Not Worried: 'I'm Outnumbered'


The Texas primaries are quickly approaching, and Republican Justice Ken Wise has found himself in a tough situation as he runs for re-election in a district with a large liberal population.

In 2013, Wise was appointed to Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals — which covers the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller and Washington — and has been re-elected in every election since.

Harris County is one of the most populous counties in the country and has several judges on the ballot. This year, there are more liberal elected judges in Harris County, meaning Wise has a little more persuading to do.

“As a conservative — as a judicial conservative, I’m outnumbered. I think that the precedent should be respected, I think the laws should be slow to change and I think the legislature ought to be the one making the law, not some judge with an agenda. And that’s not a view that’s universally held anymore,” Wise said in an interview with The Western Journal.

Wise is aware that as a conservative judge in a mostly liberal area, he is going to have to make a genuine effort to get to know the people in and around his community to ensure that they remember who he is.

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“The biggest challenge that judges face no matter which judicial office they hold, is getting the voters’ attention,” Wise said. “We’re pretty far down the ballot in most counties, and voters generally don’t know who the judges are.”

However, Wise believes that between the good relationships he has with people in the community and his 20 years of experience as a judge, the odds will be in his favor.

The Western Journal asked Wise what his plan is to ensure that he remains in his role, and it’s all about getting new voters to the polls.

“My plan is to raise money,” he said. “The key will be to deploy that money across the district in such a way to maximize new voters.”

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Wise explained that he has already raised more money than any of his opponents and believes that his years of experience as a judge in the area give him an additional advantage over them.

Even though he is confident in his standing, Wise said he still makes a point to get into the community and be involved so that people know him, regardless of whether it is for the primary — where he is unopposed — or the general election.

“Even though I don’t have an opponent in the primary, not a week goes by that I don’t go visit with groups out in the 10-county district, and so I’m on the road all the time doing that,” he said.

Wise explained that his deep involvement with Texas historians is a way to give back to his community.

“My joy for serving the state of Texas has just grown as I’ve gotten more serious about the study of Texas history. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gone from just reading about it and enjoying it to actually trying to give back to the historical community in the greater Texas community by producing some sort of preservation, promotion, analysis of our history.”

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On Sunday, Wise lived up to his word and spent time in the Brazoria County area promoting his campaign and spending time with voters.

“I’ve run in this district once before, I’ve run in Harris County five previous times, so I’m well known in Harris County,” Wise added. “I’ve been on the bench a long time so I’m well known to the voters — as well as you can be as a judge — so that gives me a lot of confidence.”

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Morgan Brantley is a former staff writer for The Western Journal. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. She and her dog, Indy, moved to the Phoenix area from Nashville.
Morgan Brantley is a former staff writer for The Western Journal. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. She and her dog, Indy, moved to the Phoenix area from Nashville.


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