Soifer Responds to Our Nonendorsement, Decries Dirty Campaigning

RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 23, 2004

Dear Louis:
   I was disappointed to read the Chronicle's assessment of the 200th District Court race last week ["Endorsements," News, Feb. 20], especially as I recalled the reason that I first decided to run for district judge: I believed, with 20 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer and even more years of working for progressive community causes and the Democratic Party, that I would be the best-qualified candidate for the job. For six months, I ran on qualifications – and only on qualifications. But during the last three months my Democratic credentials have been attacked repeatedly by the Triana campaign because of 90 days of legal work I did for my firm's client, the state of Texas, during the 2001 redistricting litigation. Although my work was not political and had nothing to do with my personal politics (to be clear, I despise what the Republicans did), Triana's camp chose a charming visual of me for the Chronicle: "She has blood on her hands." I stuck to qualifications. Then, last month, I received an e-mail directing me to a sophisticated, and anonymous, political attack Web site – directed against me. More of the same. It was then I made the decision to fight smoke and mirrors with fire. In the last two weeks, I have pointed out the central hypocrisy of Triana's attacks – that she actually voted Republican through 1990, by which time I had been an active Democrat for 15 years. But, as Lloyd Doggett once said, "sometimes when you get in a fight with a skunk, you can't tell who started it." I'll take my share of the stink for fighting back, but hope that Chronicle readers will at least recognize the cause-and-effect of all this back-and-forth, and cast their votes for the candidate they believe is best qualified.
Jan Soifer
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