Shelton Gibbs IV and Chad Johnson are the two Republican candidates running for judge for 422nd District Court election on July 14.
Early voting in the runoff election will take place through July 10.
Gibbs touts his experience as a chief felony prosecutor, while Johnson said his experience in civil law makes him the best choice for the bench.
Johnson graduated with honors from Southern Methodist and has worked for 20 years at the Husch Blackwell law firm in Dallas, where he has handled civil cases for both individuals and businesses, as plaintiffs and defendants. Johnson said his diverse resume has provided him with significant experience in civil matters that is needed in the 422nd district.
Johnson is a member and deacon of First Baptist Church in Forney and is a trustee for the Forney Independent School District.
“Probably the biggest distinction is that the majority of my experience is civil law,” Johnson said during a June interview. The other three judges in the 422nd district have a similar background to his opponent, working for the district attorney or in law enforcement, he said.
“Judge Chitty had the most civil experience,” Johnson said, referring to the current judge, Mike Chitty, who is retiring. With no Democrats running for the position, the winner of this primary election will take the office. “I’m the only one in the race who has that civil experience, and I have a wider set of experience than he has,” Johnson said, referring to Gibbs.
Gibbs also went to law school at SMU and interned for Belo Corp., working in the legal department on various projects for the company’s 20 subsidiary television and print companies.
He came back home in June 2007 to work as Kaufman County’s assistant district attorney. During the last 12 years, he has tried more than 65 jury cases to verdict, and he is currently the chief felony prosecutor for the 86th District Court.
“People worry that as Kaufman County grows, big-city crime will come with it,” Gibbs wrote in a candidate statement. “I can tell you that violent crime, drug and gang activity, are already here. I’ve dedicated my career to keeping Kaufman County families safe. I will use this experience on the bench to make sure that even while our county grows, it remains a safe place to raise a family.”
Gibbs served as a founding board member for the Crandall I.S.D. Education Foundation from 2014 through 2016. As a fifth-generation Christian evangelist, he currently serves as a minister of the Lawrence and Marder Street Church of Christ in Dallas.