The filing period has begun for candidates seeking office in the March Texas Primary. So far no surprises. Follow this link for a list of candidates that have filed.
I'll save you the trip, so far its just been a couple of incumbents and constable candidates. The only real contested race so far is the District 77 race, which is the race to replace out-going State Rep Marisa Marquez who is now, as has been publicly reported, working for Forma Group.
Frankly there are really only going to be a couple of interesting races this cycle. Unless the judges get opponents, and trust me when I tell you that a few of them are ripe for the picking. If there was ever a time a lawyer wanted to think about taking out a judge, this is the cycle to do it for a few of them.
More on that later.
Other than the District 77 race the only other races that people are going to pay attention to are the DA race and the Tax Assessor-Collector. And when that race is EVER mentioned as a race people are going to pay attention to you know its going to be a snoozer of a campaign cycle.
Even though the filing window just opened, several of the races have already congealed into fields. No one with half a brain is going to get into the HD 77 race. The TTLA and TLR money people have already placed their bets. As is the case with most races, the candidate with the best field program wins that one. Lina Ortega and Adolfo Lopez are the only real candidates in this race. Anyone else that gets in will likely just be another weirdo looking for attention.
HD 75 is also a contest race. That is the race between incumbent State Rep Mary Gonzalez and her challenger former State Rep Chente Quintanilla. There's going to be a lot of money thrown around in that race too and its really early still so its unclear if that race is going to get interesting. No matter how you look at that race, any objective observer will tell you that it is going to be a big challenge for Quintanilla to retake his seat. Chente has Forma now and he will likely get a lot of money his way so you never know what can happen.
In the DA's race the field is basically set. Long-term incumbent Jaime Esparza will be facing a challenge from Yvonne Rosales and Lenny Morales. Money and organization are the big factors in that race and I think the challengers understand that Esparza has the advantage of being a long-term incumbent and the advantage of so far just campaigning via memorial walks. If you haven't noticed Esparza seems to be organizing a different memorial walk or vigil for victims of fill-in-the-blank crime and capitalizing on media from those events. The challengers have to step up and make him work harder.
The Tax Assessor Collector race hasn't had both candidates file yet but that field of candidates has also congealed. Its basically the only two people in the county that want the job, which is a thankless (and really really boring) job. Siria Rocha, who at one point was the #2 in that office will be facing Ruben Gonzalez who was appointed to fill the empty seat a few months ago. Winning the race is easy. The hard part is getting people to care enough to cast a vote for it.
Expect a chingo of undervotes.
I almost don't know where to start with them, other than I think they are basically a waste unless you're in the rural part of the county and almost all of them have an over-inflated sense of their value. But their campaigns have managed to annoy me faster than a drunk Cowboy fan's excuses after yet another Sunday disappointment to their fans.
District #1 (Westside) and District #4 (Eastside) are the only two contested constable races so far. Seriously guys, please stop with all the references to the late Constable Robert White. Its extremely tacky. People have been invoking his name like a GOP presidential candidate mentioning Reagan.
One of the constable candidates that is up for re-election doesn't have an opponent but damn sure deserves one. Seriously, he's been a huge waste of tax-payer dollars but no one has stepped up to run against him. All you have to do is basically pull any commissioner's court agenda item form the last couple of years and you will see an executive session item that just wouldn't die.
Man, if there were a single class of electeds that are vulnerable this cycle its the judges. Obviously some are more vulnerable than others for several reasons but if there were lawyers that actually stepped up to run and had any amount of funding an organization they would make male incumbent judges an endangered species.
All the judicial stuff from the last couple of years could be rolled up in a very neat little message easily leveraged. Especially against those that have made public comments to the media. Its a piece of mail waiting to happen.
Seriously, I think just about every male incumbent judge should be sweating it out until the filing window closes.
Then there are the high-profile cases that are always a big pain in the butt for them. It (unfairly) puts them centerstage to the public.
Think I'm wrong? Here's an example of a meme I saw on the internet the day before yesterday.
This is Judge Gonzalo Garcia, affectionately known around the courthouse as GG.
He has probably presided over thousands of cases.
I sat in on the trial of former Socorro City Rep Jesse Gandara and he was the presiding judge of that trial. He seemed like a reasonable no-nonsense type of jurist to me.
But because of the nature of the case involving this meme, he ended up being part of something that really is just part of his job as a judge.
The truth is, this is the kind of thing that could make reelection for judges who have presided over high-profile cases problematic at times. Its not a good thing for our justice system when this type of thing become common place. I included it in this piece to underscore just how difficult wearing that black robe can be in a state that elects people to the job every few years.