Primary Colors: Part II

More races to watch, up and down the ballot

Clockwise from top left: Eric Beverly, Jason Earle, Valinda 
Bolton, Royce LeMoine
Clockwise from top left: Eric Beverly, Jason Earle, Valinda Bolton, Royce LeMoine (Photo By John Anderson)

State House, District 47, Democrat: Inside baseball

When Jason Earle declared for the House seat now vacated by Republican incumbent Terry Keel (who is aiming for a seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals), he seemed to be the de facto frontrunner, if only because of the name recognition of his dad, Travis Co. District Attorney Ronnie Earle. There was some strategic grumbling that the Earle name might hurt in a swing district that has recently gone Republican, although that seemed frankly petty. Then Barton Hills neighborhood and health care activist Valinda Bolton jumped into the race, and things got more interesting – now there's a fierce battle over endorsements, and Bolton seems currently ahead among high-profile activist Dems, while Earle is winning the battle of band-sucking animated Web lists. On the issues, the two are frankly in the same neighborhood, although Earle is coyly emphasizing economic development and "family friendly" values while Bolton hits on schools, health care, and open government.

Running as underdogs – and still going begging in the endorsement hunt – are Eric Beverly, a former House legislative analyst currently in the Office of Rural Community Affairs, and Royce LeMoine, an Austin native and local attorney. Not radically distinct on the issues from Earle and Bolton, Beverly has emphasized "cleaning House" via campaign finance reform, and LeMoine, from a family of educators, hopes to increase funding for education, mass transit, health care, and public safety.

With four relatively new candidates and only a month to make vivid impressions, this race may be difficult to win outright – a run-off would not be a surprise. Since the GOP wannabes are equally obscure – maybe more so – the Dems are loudly hoping that this district can be a take-back for the Party.

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