Updated at 11:35 a.m. to clarify Andy Eads current position as Precinct 4 County Commissioner as he runs for county judge.
Some Texas Republicans may well be looking over their shoulders after election upsets in Alabama, Virginia and other places where Republican candidates previously had little competition.
If the trend continues, a handful of Denton County races could turn to ultra-marathons in 2018. Out of the gate, the races for Denton County commissioner Precinct 4, District 64 in the Texas House, and District 30 in the Texas Senate look tough and long. But there’s also plenty of time for more races to heat up — 24 Democrats filed in 17 races.
The Democratic and Republican primary elections will be March 6 and the general election is Nov. 6.
County commissioner Precinct 4
Republican Andy Eads will step aside after serving as a county commissioner for the communities on the west side of Denton County to run for county judge. He faces only a Democratic opponent.
But the bid to replace him on the Commissioners Court after he finishes his term in 2018 has become a scramble.
Brenda Latham, 48, a project manager who recently moved to Bartonville, announced her candidacy early on. A former member of the Lewisville school board, Latham soon drew an opponent from Itamar Gelbman, 35, a political firebrand who served one term on the Flower Mound Town Council.
At the last minute, two other candidates filed to run, both local Republican stalwarts. Jim Carter, 86, seeks to reclaim the seat he held from 1999 through 2006. Carter lost the Precinct 4 seat to Eads in a runoff in 2006. Dianne Edmondson, 76, seeks her first government office after decades of service to the party, including serving as chairwoman of the Denton County Republican Party from 2002 to 2015.
Whoever of those four prevails in the primary election on March 6 must turn and face Democratic candidate Bryan C. Webb in November.
Webb, 60, has served on the Flower Mound Town Council since 2012.
Texas House District 64
State Rep. Lynn Stucky, 59, is finishing his first two-year term representing Denton and nearby cities in the Texas House. In his first race, Stucky was endorsed by Dick Armey, a former U.S. congressman who became an unofficial leader in the tea party movement. Yet Stucky faces an opponent positioning himself to the right in the Republican primary. Mark Roy, 49, a retired U.S. Marine and part-time pro-wrestler, calls himself the true conservative for the Republican nomination.
Meanwhile, three men are vying for the Democratic nomination for the seat, including Andrew Morris, 31, a technical writer from Argyle; Mat Pruneda, 46, a financial analyst from Denton; and Matt Farmer, 24, a recent University of North Texas political science graduate. The winner heads to the November ballot.
Texas Senate District 30
Outgoing state Rep. Pat Fallon moved his home from Frisco to Prosper to race longtime incumbent Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, in the Republican primary. Like other primary challengers, Fallon’s early campaign messages volleyed from the right of Estes.
District 30 sprawls over a dozen North Texas counties, many of them reliably Republican, but also less populous than Denton and Collin counties.
But with the general election, two other candidate filings could shift the balance of that right-leaning strategy. Earlier this month, Denton City Council member Keely Briggs announced she intends to run for the seat as an independent. On Monday, Bridgeport City Council member Kevin Lopez filed to run as a Democrat.
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 this week. 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