A longtime Texas judge became the first statewide Democratic officeholder since 1998 after he switched parties this week.

According to the Star-Telegram, state criminal appeals court judge Larry Meyers filed on Monday to seek Place 6 on the state's Supreme Court as a Democrat, making him the first Republican in 15 years to switch parties and run for statewide office.

"I am thrilled to welcome Judge Meyers to the Texas Democratic Party,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa remarked. “I am even more excited to know that Judge Meyers doesn't stand alone. Every day, I hear from real voters that our party represents the strongest path forward for our state."

“Texas is changing and voters will continue to reject a Republican Party more focused on ideology than ideas.”

Even if Meyers loses his bid for the Texas Supreme Court, he will continue to serve on the Court of Criminal Appeals until at least 2016.

[A judge and a gavel. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.]