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Judge Margaret Barnes to replace Judge Lee Gabriel on District Court ballot

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Judge Margaret Barnes will be the Denton County Republican Party’s nominee on the November general election ballot for the 367th District Court.

Judge Lee Gabriel had won the Party’s primary in March, but subsequently was selected by the 12 county chairs in the 2nd Court of Appeals district to become the GOP nominee for that court’s Place 7 on the November ballot and subsequently has formally withdrawn from the Denton County ballot.

That created a vacancy on the General Election ballot, and in accordance with state law, Judge Barnes was selected Tuesday night by the Party’s County Executive Committee, which is composed of approximately 95 precinct chairs. According to County Chairman Dianne Edmondson, there were 75 chairs in attendance and Judge Barnes was selected by majority vote on the second ballot.

Judge Barnes has been Judge of the County Court at Law # 2 since its creation eight years ago. This court deals with civil cases involving more than $500 but less than $100,000, and also with appeals of final rulings and decisions of the division of workers’ compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance regarding workers’ compensation claims, regardless of the amount in controversy. 

Judge Barnes graduated from the SMU School of Law in 1985, passed the state bar exam in her first sitting and began her 25-year legal career. In addition to her extensive judicial experience in civil law, she also is board certified in family law.

Chairman Edmondson said that of particular interest to the precinct chairs was the various candidates’ involvement in the local Republican Party. Judge Barnes has been a precinct chair and has served as DCRP Parliamentarian for nearly eight years. She also was named the Party’s Outstanding Volunteer in 2009.
  
 “We are blessed in Denton County to have a deep bench of qualified people for our various judicial positions,” said Chairman Edmondson, “and the precinct chairs had a wide range of experience from which to choose at our special selection meeting.”

Others seeking the group’s nomination to the ballot included District Judge Jake Collier, who was unseated in the March Primary by Steve Burgess, and  local attorneys Sherry Shipman, Lee Ann Breading and Coby Waddill.

Judge Barnes is expected to formally withdraw by July 3 from the DCRP November ballot for her current bench, and Chairman Edmondson will call another special CEC meeting to choose her replacement on the ballot. Several attorneys have expressed interest in being selected to replace Judge Barnes on the ballot.

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