The upset by Democrat Dan Barrett yesterday in the race for a Texas House seat from a Fort Worth district that usually votes Republican is more evidence that 2008 is going to be a big year for Democrats, who could finally break the all-Republican hold on the Texas Court of Criminals Appeals, if they field some good candidates.

If well-qualified Democrats run for the three Texas Court of Criminal Appeals seats that are on the ballot in 2008, they might all win. This is the “Worst Court in Texas” according to Texas Monthly; it should be the easiest statewide race for a Democrat to win.

Where are the candidates? It is time to show yourselves.

Matt Glazer wrote a post on BOR about “What Dan Barrett’s Victory Means for Texas“, Excerpt:

In 2006, Democrats won 6 seats plus Donna Howard’s special election. In 2007 we welcomed Kirk England to the Democratic Party and now we have Dan Barrett as member of our caucus as well. We’ve not even yet had a single vote cast the 2008 primaries, and there are now 71 Democrats in Texas House- a stunning and speedy reversal based on the same map that was drawn to have only 42 Democratic seats.

Yesterday’s election in Fort Worth was a runoff between a Democrat and multiple Republicans even though only one Republican in name was on the ballot. It was a race between the Democrat fighting for fair representation and the Republican Speaker and his possible enabler. Dan Barrett vs. Tom Craddick and his crony Mark Shelton.

House District 97 was not drawn to be a Democratic seat. In 2006, Barrett had taken on the recently retired Anna Mowery and claimed only 40.82% of the vote. Tarrant County on the whole only gave Barbara Radnofsky, the U.S. Senate nominee, 34.80%, Chris Bell 31.07% in his bid for Governor, and the bell weather Texas Supreme Court candidate Bill Moody 42.79% of the vote. The Republican’s should have won this election based on the poor democratic performance index (DPI) of the district alone. During the special election yesterday, Barrett won with 52.2% of the vote.

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