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
Will Fisher, Flower Mound
Linsey Fagan, Keller
Michael Burgess (I), Pilot Point
Veronica Birkenstock, Frisco
State Senator, District 30
Kevin Lopez, Bridgeport
Craig Estes (I), Wichita Falls
Pat Fallon, Prosper
State Representative District 106
Michael Rhea, Frisco
Ramona Thompson, Frisco
Clint Bedsole, Frisco
Jared Patterson, Frisco
State Representative District 63
Laura Haines, Flower Mound
Richard Wolf, Flower Mound
Tan Parker (I), Flower Mound
State Representative District 64
Matt Farmer, Denton
Andrew Morris, Argyle
Mat Pruneda, Denton
Lynn Stucky (I), Sanger
Mark Roy, Sanger
State Representative District 65
Michelle Beckley, Carrollton
Kevin Simmons, Carrollton
Ron Simmons (I), Carrollton
Amy Manuel, Denton
Juli Luke (I), Corinth
County Commissioner Precinct 2
Brandy Jones, Dallas
Ron Marchant (I), Carrollton
County Commissioner Precinct 4
Bryan C. Webb, Flower Mound
Jim Carter, Flower Mound
Dianne Edmondson, Denton
Itamar Gelbman, Flower Mound
Brenda Latham, Bartonville
Diana Leggett, Denton
Willie Hudspeth, Denton
Andy Eads, Flower Mound
Cindy Yeatts Brown (I), Sanger
Criminal District Attorney
Brent Bowen, Denton
Paul Johnson (I), Highland Village
Yesse Rodriguez, Denton
David Trantham, Denton
Ronnie Anderson, Denton
William Brown, Sanger
Mark Yarbrough, Lewisville
District Judge 158th Judicial District
Steve Burgess (I), Denton
District Judge 211th Judicial District
Brody Shanklin (I), Denton
District Judge 367th Judicial District
Margaret E. Barnes (I), Denton
Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 1
Kimberly McCary (I), Denton
Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 2
Robert Ramirez (I), Lake Dallas
Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 1
Jim Crouch (I), Lewisville
Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 2
Sean Kilgore, Denton
Susan Piel, Denton
Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 3
David D. Garcia (I), Frisco
Forrest Beadle, Denton
Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 4
Chance Oliver, Denton
Judge, County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 5
Coby Waddill (I), Denton
Judge, County Probate Court-at-Law
Bonnie Robison (I), Denton
Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Keri Anne Caruthers, Denton
Danny Fletcher, Denton
Joe Holland (I), Denton
Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Maureen Kursh Reister, Frisco
James R. DePiazza (I), The Colony
Fabian Thomas, The Colony
Justice of the Peace Precinct 3
Marianne Poer Vander Stoep, Highland Village
James Kerbow, Lewisville
William Lawrence, Highland Village
Sherman Swartz, Lewisville
Justice of the Peace Precinct 4
Michael J. Callaway, Roanoke
Don Cartwright, Denton
Harris Hughey, Northlake
Scott Smith, Trophy Club
Justice of the Peace Precinct 5
Sam Ortiz, Denton
Mike Oglesby (I), Aubrey
Justice of the Peace Precinct 6
Chris Lopez, Carrollton
Parker Owen, Carrollton
Gary W. Blanscet (I), Carrollton