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Denton County politicians lace up their racing shoes

Updated at 10:45 a.m. to correct the description of two races and include additional late filings. 

Republican incumbents filed for re-election in 22 of the 30 area offices as the deadline for the Texas primaries closed Monday evening.

It's no wonder, then, that Denton County voters often see the Republican Party primary ballot as if it were a marathon's last mile. Elected state and county offices have been filled by the winner of the Republican primary for many years. 

This year's primaries could bring more of the same. Or not. 

Twenty-three Democratic hopefuls filed to represent Denton County in legislative and judicial offices at the county, state and federal level. The national party launched initiatives to spur more local candidates, including the Lone Star Project and Indivisible.

The renewed energy could bring some surprises next fall during the general election.  

For example, Andy Eads is leaving his Denton County commissioner seat to run for county judge. In the Republican primary, he is unopposed. But he will face a Democratic opponent, as will the Republican nominee for his old seat in Precinct 4. 

In addition, fellow county Commissioner Ron Marchant, who has been battling health problems, filed for re-election. Following the Republican primary, he must face a Democratic opponent in order to keep his seat in Precinct 2. 

Several current legislators have Republican primary opponents running against them from the far right.  For example, Mark Roy, a retired U.S. Marine, calls himself the "true conservative" as he challenges state Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton, in District 64 of the Texas House of Representatives.  But in the fall, all of those Republican nominees will face a Democrat. 

Only one sitting judge at the county or state district level drew an opponent from either party. But in the six races for justice of the peace, Democratic candidates set their sights on all six. 

Justices have limited jurisdiction over traffic tickets, evictions and small-claims cases. Texas does not require the justices to be licensed attorneys.

Whether any of the Democratic nominees truly toughen the race for Republicans remains to be seen. 

In the District 30 race of the Texas Senate, the incumbent, Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, faces a challenge from the far right in Pat Fallon of Prosper, who is stepping down from his seat in the Texas House to run against him. 

Come next fall, however, whichever man wins the Republican nomination won't be alone on the ballot. Denton City Council member Keely Briggs announced her intention to run for the sprawling district as an independent and Bridgeport City Council member Kevin Lopez filed to run as a Democrat. 

The primary election will be March 6. The general election is Nov. 6.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. 

In The Know

The Texas secretary of state listed the following candidates for the Democratic and Republican primaries in Denton County as of 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.  The list has not yet been certified as complete nor are candidates listed in ballot order. (I) denotes incumbent. 

U.S. Congress District 26

Democrat

Will Fisher, Flower Mound

Linsey Fagan, Keller

Republican

Michael Burgess (I), Pilot Point

Veronica Birkenstock, Frisco

State Senator, District 30

Democrat

Kevin Lopez, Bridgeport

Republican

Craig Estes (I), Wichita Falls

Pat Fallon, Prosper

State Representative District 106

Democrat

Michael Rhea, Frisco 

Ramona Thompson, Frisco

Republican

Clint Bedsole, Frisco

Jared Patterson, Frisco

State Representative District 63

Democrat

Laura Haines, Flower Mound

Richard Wolf, Flower Mound

Republican

Tan Parker (I), Flower Mound

State Representative District 64

Democrat

Matt Farmer, Denton

Andrew Morris, Argyle

Mat Pruneda, Denton

Republican

Lynn Stucky (I), Sanger

Mark Roy, Sanger

State Representative District 65

Democrat

Michelle Beckley, Carrollton

Republican

Kevin Simmons, Carrollton

Ron Simmons (I), Carrollton

County Clerk

Democrat

Amy Manuel, Denton

Republican

Juli Luke (I), Corinth

County Commissioner Precinct 2

Democrat

Brandy Jones, Dallas

Republican

Ron Marchant (I), Carrollton

County Commissioner Precinct 4

Democrat

Bryan C. Webb, Flower Mound

Republican

Jim Carter, Flower Mound

Dianne Edmondson, Denton

Itamar Gelbman, Flower Mound

Brenda Latham, Bartonville 

County Judge

Democrat

Diana Leggett, Denton 

Willie Hudspeth, Denton

Republican

Andy Eads, Flower Mound

County Treasurer

Republican

Cindy Yeatts Brown (I), Sanger

Criminal District Attorney

Republican

Brent Bowen, Denton 

Paul Johnson (I), Highland Village

District Clerk

Democrat

Yesse Rodriguez, Denton

Republican

David Trantham, Denton 

Ronnie Anderson, Denton

William Brown, Sanger

Mark Yarbrough, Lewisville

District Judge 158th Judicial District

Republican

Steve Burgess (I), Denton

District Judge 211th Judicial District

Republican

Brody Shanklin (I), Denton

District Judge 367th Judicial District

Republican

Margaret E. Barnes (I), Denton

Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 1

Republican

Kimberly McCary (I), Denton

Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 2

Republican

Robert Ramirez (I), Lake Dallas

Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 1

Republican

Jim Crouch (I), Lewisville

Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 2

Republican

Sean Kilgore, Denton

Susan Piel, Denton

Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 3

Republican

David D. Garcia (I), Frisco

Forrest Beadle, Denton

Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 4

Republican

Chance Oliver, Denton

Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 5

Republican

Coby Waddill (I), Denton

Judge, County Probate Court-at-Law

Republican

Bonnie Robison (I), Denton

Justice of the Peace Precinct 1

Democrat

Keri Anne Caruthers, Denton

Republican

Danny Fletcher, Denton

Joe Holland (I), Denton

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2

Democrat

Maureen Kursh Reister, Frisco

Republican

James R. DePiazza (I), The Colony

Fabian Thomas, The Colony

Justice of the Peace Precinct 3

Democrat

Marianne Poer Vander Stoep, Highland Village

Republican

James Kerbow, Lewisville

William Lawrence, Highland Village

Sherman Swartz, Lewisville

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4

Democrat

Michael J. Callaway, Roanoke

Republican

Don Cartwright, Denton

Harris Hughey, Northlake

Scott Smith, Trophy Club

Justice of the Peace Precinct 5

Democrat

Sam Ortiz, Denton

Republican

Mike Oglesby (I), Aubrey

Justice of the Peace Precinct 6

Democrat

Chris Lopez, Carrollton

Parker Owen, Carrollton

Republican 

Gary W. Blanscet (I), Carrollton