Open seats drew the most interest during the 30-day filing period for the March 3 party primaries, with Texas House District 25 attracting five challengers to replace Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who is not seeking re-election.
The filing period closed at 6 p.m. Monday. Brazoria County races largely are uncontested, with few Republicans facing challengers. The same will be true in next November’s general election with only a smattering of Democrats seeking county-level offices.
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.
Four of the Republicans hoping to replace Bonnen are from Brazoria County; District 25 encompasses southern Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County.
The final days of filing brought a third Democrat who wants a shot at unseating U.S. Rep. Randy Weber. The Friendswood Republican also has a primary opponent.
Two of the three Democrats running in that party’s primary for U.S. House District 14 are from West Columbia, with the third from Kemah. Weber, R-Friendswood, who is seeking a fifth term in Washington, also has a primary opponent.
HOUSE DISTRICT 25
Bay City Chamber of Commerce President Mitch Thames is the latest Republican to throw his hat in the ring for Bonnen’s seat. He announced his intention to run Nov. 27.
“In my role as the President of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, I’m deeply entrenched in the issues that affect the citizens and businesses of Matagorda and Brazoria counties,” Thames said in a written statement.
The Bay City Tribune reported Thames considered running after hearing Bonnen’s announcement not to seek reelection.
“I never dreamed of running against him, but with the seat open, I just felt compelled to run,” Thames told the Tribune. “Carolyn and I have thought about this for years and years, but knowing that our state representative was in for the long haul, I put it on the back burner.”
Troy Brimage resigned as Freeport mayor and officially filed for the open seat in November. Ro’Vin Garrett, who has been Brazoria County’s tax assessor/collector since 2000, has been campaigning since she announced her bid to run in November.
Emergency room nurse Rhonda Seth and Angleton City Councilman Cody Vasut had already made their campaigns for the Republican nomination official early in the 30-day filing period.
Former Angleton Mayor Patrick Henry announced he’ll run as a Democrat and officially filed in November, Brazoria County Democratic Chair Kris McGarvey said. He will be unopposed in his primary.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 14
Weber, who took office in 2012, is being challenged by Marine veteran Joshua Foxworth for the Republican nomination. The winner will face the winner among four candidates on the Democratic side.
Adrienne Bell of Pearland, who collected about one-third of the vote in challenging Weber two years ago, is making a second run for the Democratic nomination.
Other Democrats are Eddie Fisher, a self-employed West Columbia resident; Robert “Puga” Thomas, an engineer also from West Columbia; and Kemah attorney Mikal Williams.
“I am inspired by fellow Texans who are outraged by children in cages, ‘alternative facts,’ Super PACs, party above country and party above the rule of law,” Fisher said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “I am also inspired by great Texas Democrats of the past — Barbara Jordan, John Henry Faulk, Ann Richards and Bob Eckhardt.”
Fisher described himself as pragmatic, pro-worker and a pro-business, fiscally conservative candidate who will work to bring people together, not divide them.
Thomas, a city councilman for 21 years, earned re-election in June, he said. That experience along with a 30-year career as an aerospace engineer taught him to create, develop, test and write budgets to sustain, Thomas told The Facts in August.
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.
It is a three-woman race for Brazoria County Court at Law No. 1 and Probate as Courtney Gilbert, Sandra Oballe and Dora Bonner seek to fill the seat vacated by Greg Hill, who resigned after nine months in the office to run for Congress. The winner will face Democrat Terence Norman in the general election.
Incumbent county commissioners Dude Payne in Precinct 1 and Stacy Adams in Precinct 3 will both sail to reelection unchallenged, with no other Republicans or Democrats filing. The same is true of constables David Thacker in Precinct 1 and C.B. “Buck” Stevens in Precinct 3.
Precinct 4 Constable James Brawner is unopposed in the primary, but Democrat David Keith Rougeau awaits in November.
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.