Sam Johnson and Penny Robe
Democratic Nominees for
366th and 380th District Court of Collin County
June 18, 2020
There are Looney Tunes cartoons featuring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, where the two battle ferociously after they punch in to start their workday, and when the five o’clock whistle blows, the two work adversaries are friends again.
In the heated argument of a hearing or trial, barbs are thrown, arguments are made, and a victor is ultimately declared. Lawyers spend our careers honing the fine art of battling in the courtroom only to collaborate with our opponent mere minutes or hours later. The Texas Lawyer’s Creed affirms our obligation to “disagree without being disagreeable” and to refrain from “alluding to personal peculiarities or idiosyncrasies of” an opposing attorney. These guidelines are meant to provide balance in an adversarial profession, but really, they serve to provide professionalism in a profession that can sometimes feel out of balance.
Candidates on the ballot, and all of our courageous volunteers and supporters, know very well the passion and vehemence surrounding political campaigns. Offices and living rooms filled with activists trained and ready to make the case for their chosen candidate. Talking points and push cards lay atop passionate belief in the person and their platform. But all campaigns come to an end sooner or later. Voters (hopefully) abound and cast their ballots until finally (you guessed it) a victor is again declared. Though we may disagree with the outcome, we can do so without being disagreeable.
Every primary has its ups and downs in an area with signs of a healthy democracy. The good news is that in March 2020, Collin County Democrats had the fullest primary ballot, with more contested primaries than we’ve seen in decades, and our work of selecting our candidates isn’t done until the Runoff in July. Our fight – the true fun and the campaigning that matters most – is just getting started. This November, voters across the county, state, and nation will decide what many believe to be the least predictable election in a generation. For all of us who are working to make sure Collin County voters choose candidates who really hear them and care about their wellbeing, this may be the most consequential election of our lives.
We cannot let this moment be burdened by division and dissent within our own party.
Following every primary, as Democrats, we have an obligation to our voters and the public at large to find a way to bridge the divides that were forged in heated primary races. Once our primaries and runoffs are completed, our county chair in place and our Democratic slate on the ballot is set, we are a unified party. We are on the same team.
As we head toward November in this election year, our energy must be directed only at getting our voters out to the polls and engaging with nonvoters, moderates, and even right-leaning voters to make the case for our platform of compassion, empathy, and equity. This is the powerful message we offer as the Collin County Democratic Party. This is why a combined campaign is so powerful.
This editorial comes from the viewpoint of the slate of Democratic attorneys running for District Court Judge in Collin County, the first in nearly forty years, and for our slate, the value and importance of finding a way to unify right now cannot be overemphasized.
We must set aside the disappointment if our candidate is not the nominee. We must set aside the hurts from the primary battle, and unite as one team to win in November, and put Democrats in office in Collin County, Texas.