Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect that House District 25 Republican candidate Ro'Vin Garrett was elected as the county's tax assessor-collector.
With about two weeks left to file for places on the primary election ballots, the list of Republicans running for House District 25 and County Court-at-Law No. 1 judge continues to grow.
For the first time in years, House District 25 will have an open race, with an increasingly growing list of Republicans and Democrats vying for the seat vacated by Dennis Bonnen after a controversial recording was made public.
Only three Democrats have officially filed, Brazoria County Democratic Party Chair Kris McGarvey said.
The 30-day filing period closes Dec. 9. Early voting in the primary elections for both parties will begin Feb. 18, with Election Day on March 3.
With a presidential race at the top of the ticket, the 2020 election is sure to garner a lot of voter interest. In Brazoria County, the retirements of Sheriff Charles Wagner, Bonnen and Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Sharon Fox have added some unusual energy to the campaign.
COUNTY COURT-AT-LAW NO. 1
The County-Court-at-Law No. 1 judgeship is back on the ballot after Greg Hill, who just took office Jan. 1, vacated the bench to run for Congress in District 22 after longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Olsen, R-Sugar Land, announced his retirement. Retired Judge Jerri Lee Mills is filling in after being appointed, but has said she will serve only until a replacement is elected.
Courtney Gilbert, a prosecutor in the county District Attorney’s Office, entered the race as a Republican within the first week of the filing period and since has had two challengers line up against her.
“I welcome both of my opponents, and wish them a great campaign,” Gilbert said in an email. “I look forward to demonstrating to the Brazoria County voters that I am the only lifelong Republican and proven conservative running for judge for County Court-at-Law No. 1. My record as a prosecutor, trial experience and knowledge in criminal, civil and probate law make me the right choice.”
Gilbert is now joined by Clute-based attorney Dora Bonner, a Republican who previously challenged Hill for the seat, and Angleton defense attorney Sandra Oballe.
This will be Bonner’s third time on a ballot for a county court-at-law position. In 2010, she ran as a Democrat for County Court-at-Law No. 3 judge and lost to incumbent Republican Jerry Warren.
“I believe I’m qualified for the position and I’d make an excellent judge,” Bonner said.
Oballe, who is seeking the judgeship for the first time, could not be reached by phone as of Monday evening.
HOUSE DISTRICT 25
After announcing his intention to run earlier this month, Troy Brimage resigned as Freeport mayor and officially filed for the open seat.
“I feel at this time, I can better serve Freeport and the citizens of Freeport at the state level with the relationships I know I can build in Austin,” Brimage said during his last council meeting Nov. 17.
Ro’Vin Garrett, who was elected to oversee the county’s property tax system since 2000, emergency room nurse Rhonda Seth and Angleton City Councilman Cody Vasut have already filed for the Republican nomination.
Former Angleton Mayor Patrick Henry has announced he’ll run as a Democrat and officially filed this week, McGarvey said.
HOUSE DISTRICT 29
State Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, filed to keep the District 29 seat he has held since 2013.
No other Republican challengers had filed as of Monday.
Small-business owner Travis Boldt recently filed as a Democrat for the seat, McGarvey said.
“My personal experience of running a private healthcare business has taught me that there is only so much you can do when working against a system that is stacked in favor of the wealthy and against everyone else,” Boldt said in a written statement on his campaign website.
Most Republicans who have filed in Brazoria County are running unopposed in the party primary according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.
Contested races include Richard Foreman, Bo Stallman and Randy Rhyne for sheriff; Pete Gamboa and Sarah Linder for Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, Place 1; and Precinct 2 constable, where incumbent Willie Howell is being challenged by Mike Ochoa.
State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, whose district includes the northeast portion of Brazoria County, has no primary challenger, but will have an opponent in the general election. Two Democrats, Susan Criss of Galveston and Margarita Ruiz Johnson, are running for that party’s nomination.