The Austin Chronicle

Candidate Filings Trickle In

By Richard Whittaker, December 6, 2013, News

Political Wisdom 101: You've got to be in it to win it. But filing for the March 4 primary is set to close on Dec. 9, and there's only been a trickle of additional filed candidates for Travis County voters in the last week (see "Candidate-o-File: Local Races," Nov. 29). Most of the races with multiple filings remain on the Republican side, with few Democrats either challenging their own party incumbents or risking a run against perceived Republican strongholds.

• Federal: With the headlines filled with Ted Cruz's ongoing radical banalities, Sen. John Cornyn has been overshadowed all session by Texas' junior senator. The result is a massive target on Cornyn's back. However, out of his four filed primary challengers, only Reid Reasor, who proposes "centrally equipped, decentrally executed prosperity," stands clear of the incumbent. The rest remain part of the party's ultra-conservative mainstream. Cruz-booster Chris Mapp and states' rights advocate Dwayne Stovall are generic Tea Parti­ers, while attorney Linda Vega at least distinguishes herself by a pro-immigration reform platform. On the Demo­cratic side, Michael "Fjet" Fjetland is joined by Odessa doctor HyeTae "Harry" Kim, and El Paso attorney Maxey Marie Scherr. But their best-funded hope could be David Alameel, a former Cornyn supporter turned Democratic candidate with a $50 million fortune to draw upon.

On the house side, it's a slow primary season in Travis County, with Democrat Lloyd Doggett and Republicans Michael McCaul, Bill Flores, and Roger Williams so far lacking challengers for either the March primary or the November general elections, though Lamar Smith faces a challenge from the fiscal far right by anti-tax, anti-spend, dismantle-the-IRS zealot Matt McCall.

• Statewide: There's still little sign of Dems rustling up a slate of power players under the wings of gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis and lite guv candidate Leticia Van de Putte. Failed 2008 Texas Supreme Court candidate Sam Houston is the lone filed Democrat in the race for attorney general, and the sole major filer during the Thanksgiving period.

• Legislature: So far, the only primary fight is in Senate District 25, where Donna Camp­bell must fight off former San Antonio Council Member Elise Chan and former Bexar County Commissioner Mike Novak – a sure sign that the Alamo City establishment is unhappy about having a New Braunfels resident represent them. And November still only offers two chances of interparty battles: Republican Mike VanDeWalle and Democrat Celia Israel in the seemingly never-ending HD 50 fight, and the GOP's Vik Vad in a Hail Mary play against Democratic incumbent Kirk Watson in SD 14.

• County: As at the state level, so below. The overwhelming majority of seats remain uncontested, even at high-ranking and well-paid positions. The Democrats look set to retain their hold of the county's most senior administrative positions, with County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir and County Treasurer Dolores Ortega Carter so far unopposed, and Velva L. Price set to replace the retiring Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza as district clerk.

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