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2018 Denton County primaries: The ones to watch

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

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