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Contested races benefit voters

If voter turnout for the 2014 primary election on March 4 doesn’t live up to expectations, it won’t be because of a lack of competition.

We were pleased to see a healthy crop of candidates when the filing period had closed, especially in the Republican camp, and we believe that’s a positive development for Denton County.

In our view, voters deserve a choice and will benefit from the more extensive campaigning that contested elections typically deliver.

Two of Denton County’s top Republicans — County Judge Mary Horn and District Attorney Paul Johnson — are facing challengers in the Republican primary next spring.

Horn, who has run for re-election unopposed since 2006, is facing two GOP challengers, Corinth Mayor Paul Ruggiere and Highland Village attorney Sherman Swartz.

Johnson is facing Lantana attorney Karen Alexander and Denton attorney Hank Paine, both of whom announced their candidacies months ago.

The candidates were among dozens who braved icy roads to meet the filing deadline for the March 4 primary election. State law does not allow for late filings because of bad weather.

“Candidates are going to have a very spirited and very full primary in Denton County,” Dianne Edmondson, head of the Denton County Republican Party, told us. “We have in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 candidates, with lots of races contested and lots of people filing for precinct chairs — they are keeping us busy.”

Denton County Democrats have a much trimmer list of candidates, but no less enthusiasm for the 2014 elections.

“I am pleased with the quality of these men and women who are true public servants,” said Phyllis Wolper, head of the Denton County Democratic Party.

The Republicans have 10 contested races in the primary election. Six Democrats filed for office in Denton County, but none face challengers in the primary election. They are hoping to unseat Republican incumbents in the November general election.

Republican state Rep. Myra Crownover is also facing a primary challenge from Denton insurance agent Read King in the District 64 race, with the winner facing Democrat Emy Lyons in the November election.

We congratulate all candidates who filed for the upcoming primary, especially those who refused to let the ice storm prevent them from throwing their hats into the ring.

The last thing we need right now is a stagnant election season — a higher level of competition should help guarantee that plenty of new ideas are brought to the table for discussion.

We believe Denton County will benefit from a field of candidates who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and we look forward to a productive campaign.

And now, county voters, it’s time to do your part — make sure you’re registered and start learning all you can about the candidates and their platforms so you can cast an informed vote.

March will be here before we know it.