A look at the March Primary races


The election-filing deadline has come and gone, and now the wait for the 2016 March Primary has begun.

The following is a breakdown of the candidates that will appear on the March 1 Primary ballot.

Austin County

Eight positions are up for election in Austin County: Constables in precincts 1, 2, 3, and 4, county commissioners precincts 1 and 3, county tax assessor/collector, and county sheriff.

Pct. 4 Constable James Clark of Wallis is seeking re-election against challenger Matt McArthur of Sealy. Pct. 1 Constable Virgil Price, Pct. 2 Constable Dave Schulz and Pct. 3 Constable Ronnie Griffin are all running unopposed.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Reese Turner is up for re-election and faces two opponents, Mark Lamp of Bellville and Allen Kaminski of Sealy. Pct. 3 Commissioner Randy Reichardt is running unopposed.

County Tax Assessor-Collector and Election Official Marcus Peña faces challenger Kim Rinn of Bellville.

Sheriff Jack Brandes is up for re-election and is running unopposed.

Railroad Commissioner

Six candidates filed for Commissioner David Porter’s position, which he will vacate after withdrawing from contention: Cody Garrett, Gary Gates, Grady Yarbrough, John Greytok, Lon Burnam and Ron Hale.


Incumbent Lawrence “Larry” Meyers drew two opponents for re-election on the Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2 seat, Republicans Mary Lou Keel and Ray Wheless.

Three candidates seek the Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5 position: Democrat Betsy Johnson, and Republicans Brent Webster and Sid Harle.

Incumbent Michael Keasler faces challengers Republican Richard Davis and Democrat Robert Burns for the Court of Criminal Appeals Place 6.

The 1st Court of Appeals Chief Justice position has incumbent Sherry Radack battling Democratic candidate Jim Peacock.

The 14th Court of Appeals District Place 2 will seat a new justice after a four-candidate race: Republicans Bud Wiesedeppe and Kevin Jewell and Democrats Candance White and Jim Sharp.

Democrat Peter Kelly will attempt to unseat incumbent Tracy Elizabeth Christopher as Justice of the 14th Court of Appeals District Place 9.

Incumbent Evelyn Keyes meets Democrat Barbara Gardner for the 1st Court of Appeals District Place 4 race.

Texas Supreme Court

Republican incumbent Debra Lehrmann faces fellow Republican Michael Massengale and Democrat Mike Westergren for Justice Place 3.

Democratic candidate Dori Contreras Garza and Republican Rick Green vie for Justice Place 5 against incumbent Paul Green.

A two-party race for Justice Place 9 pits Democrat Savannah Robinson against incumbent Eva Guzman.

Texas House and Senate

Republican incumbent Lois Kolkhorst is running unopposed for re-election in Senate District 18.

Republican incumbent Leighton Schubert seeks his first full-term in House District 13, after being elected to finish Kolkhorst’s last term, against Democratic hopeful Cecil Webster.


Republican incumbent Michael McCaul is in a three-pony race against Scot Gallaher and Tawana Cadien for the Congressional District 10 seat.


Probably the most grueling race is the bid for President of the United States.

Thirteen Republican candidates continue to push the political fervor to new heights for the GOP nomination: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Elizabeth Gray, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in his second bid for the nomination, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and polling frontrunner Donald Trump.

Eight Democratic candidates are still in the race for the party’s presidential nomination: Calvis Hawes, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Keith Judd, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Texas gubernatorial candidate Star Locke, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, and former Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson.

Marcus Peña, Austin County Tax Assessor-Collector and Election Official, said the county is expecting to see a massive increase in voter participation this election cycle. Last presidential primary, Peña said there were a little more than 6,000 in voter turnout. Voter turnout is expected to triple to more than 19,000 this coming March.

Originally, the county had it in mind to purchase 14 new polling pads for election sites, as it is one of four counties out of 254 in the state that does not have some form of electronic voting, but the Austin County Commissioners Court placed them on hold until the next budget cycle around fall 2016 when there is more revenue.

Early voting for the March primaries begins Feb. 16 and runs through Feb. 26. Election day is March 1.


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