By Kathi Bliss
The dust has finally settled and the smoke cleared from the extensive Texas Redistricting debate, and the Federal Courts have issued an order declaring that the State of Texas will hold Primary Elections on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.
With the extended filing period drawing to a close on March 9, the local Party Chairs announced on Monday the final list of candidates that will seek local office in the Primary Election.
After the second round of pre-election filing, only a handful of local races stand to be contested at the Primary level, with most of the challenges slated to take place during the November General Election.
One of the central questions to the Redistricting debate is the creation of the new US Congressional District 35, a district that includes the City of Lockhart and other portions of Caldwell County. Some opponents of the plan suggested that the District 35 lines, which stretch from southwest Travis County down the I-35 corridor to San Antonio, would make it impossible for seated Representative Lloyd Doggett to win re-election. Others say the lines would secure the seat for Doggett.
Regardless, in the May Primary, Doggett will face a challenge from Democrats Mary Luisa Alvarado and Sylvia Romo for the seat. San Antonio Democrat Joaquin Castro, long speculated to provide the biggest challenge for Doggett in District 35, will run in Congressional District 20.
Susan Narvaiz, Rob Roark and John Yoggerst will compete on the Republican ticket for their party’s nomination to run the race in November.
The bulk of Caldwell County, not falling into the District 35 lines, will be represented by Congressional District 27. Four Republicans and four Democrats will compete for that seat.
On the Democratic Party ticket, Rose Meza Harrison will square off with Jerry J. Trevino, Murphy Alade Junaid and Ronnie C. McDonald for the party nomination. Republicans John Grunwald, Don Al Middlebrook and Trey Roberts will challenge incumbent Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) for the nomination.
Incumbent Sheriff Daniel C. Law will not face a Primary challenge as he seeks a third term in office. In November, he will face Republican Ray Chandler for the position.
Interim Tax Assessor-Collector Debra Burditt French will run on the Republican ticket, facing a challenge from Darla Law in November.
Longtime Democrat Constable Smitty Terrell is unopposed in the Primary, but will face political newcomer Richard Polfus in November. Similarly, Precinct 2 Constable Richard Callihan will face off with Republican challenger Tim Adams.
Precinct 3 Constable Margarito Zapata, Jr., will not see a challenge from within his party, or from the Republican side of the aisle.
The Precinct 4 Constable seat will be decided at Primary, when incumbent Art Villarreal faces Paul Cowan.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Neto Madrigal, the incumbent Democrat, will seek a third term, but will first have to best Republican challenger Kathy Haigler.
The Precinct 1 Commissioner’s seat is one of the most hotly-contested, with four candidates seeking the Republican nomination. Incumbent Commissioner John Cyrier has opted not to run, but Republican candidates Todd Smith, Richard Mendez, Kent Riddle and Kathy Sellers each hope to fill his shoes and face Democratic Party candidate Alfredo Munoz, come November.
In addition, longtime Democratic Party Chair Philip Ruiz is facing a challenge from Gary Duran.
Voters must be registered to vote in the May 29, 2012, Primary Elections prior to April 30, 2012. Early voting will begin on May 14, and close on May 25.
For more information on the May 29 Primary Elections and the candidates running for office, watch future editions of the Lockhart Post-Register.