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  A Switch in Time: Six [Dallas Co., TX] Republican Trial Judges Change Parties Now Hoping to Keep Their Benches in 2010
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Last EditedDFWDem  Oct 03, 2008 02:22pm
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News DateMonday, October 6, 2008 08:20:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy John Council
Texas Lawyer

Jane Roden has never cared for politics. In fact, she can't remember the last time she attended a political function. Like many of her colleagues on the Dallas County trial bench, she believes party affiliation has never figured into a decision she has made as a judge.

Regardless, in the coming days Roden will dive right into politics as she formally switches from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party for the 2010 election cycle.

"I've worked for Dallas County for 19 years. I don't plan on walking away from that," says Roden, judge of Criminal Court No. 8. Before becoming a judge she served as Dallas County's chief public defender and as an assistant district attorney.

Remaining in the Republican Party would be akin to abandoning her job, she says, adding, "In Dallas County, the writing is on the wall."

And if that makes her look like an opportunist, so be it.

"You don't want to disappoint people who have supported you," Roden says. "But I think a lot more people would be disappointed if I gave up."

Roden is not alone in making this decision.

In November 2006, more than 40 Republican judges in Dallas County lost their jobs when Democratic candidates swept the civil and criminal courthouses in an election that shocked even the wisest political analysts. Many analysts believe the shift was due to changing demographics within Dallas County, which has been trending Democratic for about six years. Twelve Republican judges, including Roden, did not draw a Democratic opponent in 2006. But in 2010, no one expects that to happen again. So Republican judges whose terms end in 2010 must make a choice: switch parties, stay with the GOP or retire. Six of them say they are switching parties.
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