The Importance of Primary Elections and Who Is Running for Office in Your Area

Welcome to the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) series on “Good Voter Health” Day 2! Yesterday, TRTA focused on the importance of being registered to vote and provided valuable, informative links for our members to check their registration status.

As a reminder, if you are not sure of your voter registration status, please check the Secretary of State website TODAY.

Yesterday, TRTA briefly mentioned the importance of the primary elections. Our members need to know that the vast majority of elections in Texas are determined during the primary elections. In legislative races, the November general election does not matter that much!

Your power as a voter is amplified in primary elections simply because so many other people choose not to vote. Occasionally, the candidate from your political party most likely to win the primary election does not represent your ideals.

If you are in this situation but you do not want another influential interest group to take away your power in the November general election, consider voting in the OPPOSITE party primary and choosing a candidate you believe may be friendlier to TRTA issues.

TRTA is not suggesting that you disregard your political ideals or that you vote for someone you do not support; however, the primary process offers a choice of candidates, some of who may support the TRTA legislative agenda. If you think your vote may be better used in this way, this may be a winning strategy for gaining support for TRTA issues during legislative session.

Some TRTA members may agree with the likely victorious political party in their area. This does not mean, however, that the party’s candidate who won the primary is the person you want representing you on vital TRTA legislative issues.

It is easy to take for granted our favorite candidate’s chances of election, but we must remember that when a candidate faces a challenger in the primary, the vote could go either way! If TRTA does not exercise its resources – the voices of 80,000 retirees – our allies in the Texas Legislature or candidates asking for a chance to serve and protect your TRS benefits may be defeated.

You may know someone who served in the Legislature previously that is no longer serving due to the results of a primary election. Because so few people cast a vote in the primary elections, these races can be determined by just a handful of votes! This means YOUR VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION MATTERS. Every vote cast in a primary election makes a difference!

TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office, but has a reputation for working across party lines to establish strong relationships with legislators for the good of TRS and its 350,000+ retirees. We also know that many groups seek eliminate our defined benefit retirement plan. Some challengers to elected officials in primary elections are supported by groups that want to do away with our retirement system.

It is up to us to do our due diligence and ask candidates the tough questions about TRS!

Because your retirement benefits affect your livelihood, you owe it to yourself to find out the answers to the following questions from ALL candidates in your area:

  • Do you support a defined benefit plan for all current and future TRS retirees?
  • Do you support providing reasonable, affordable healthcare for TRS retirees?
  • What will you do as my legislator to ensure that the TRS pension fund and TRS–Care health insurance program are preserved and improved?

Please feel free to report back to TRTA with any responses you receive, both positive and negative. Send an email to info@trta.org with the subject line “Elections.” It is also worthwhile to share the feedback you receive from candidates with other education retirees.

Remember this too: regardless of who you vote for, there will be many new legislators joining the Texas Legislature in 2017. Several Senators and Representatives retired or chose to run for other offices, including supporters such as Senator Kevin Eltife and Representative Jim Keffer.

Who is Running for Office in My Area?

As former educators, let us educate ourselves and all candidates running for office in Texas! Make a commitment to contact the candidates in your area and ask them the questions listed above.

Remember, early voting for the primary elections begins February 16, 2016 and continues through February 26, 2016. Primary election day is March 1. We encourage members to vote early if possible, and to begin researching their candidates NOW! You may click on the names of the candidates in the charts below to learn more about their political stances and ways to contact them.

If you are not sure which Texas Senate and House district you reside within, please use this link to learn more.

Tomorrow, stay tuned for information about how you can get more involved in the political process by reading our “Good Voter Health” Day 3 article!

Texas Senate Races
Source.

2016 Texas Senate candidates
District Democratic Party Democrat Republican Party Republican Other
1 No candidate Bryan Hughes
David Simpson
James K. Red Brown
Mike Lee
4 No candidate Brandon Creighton (I)
6 Sylvia Garcia (I) No candidate
11 No candidate Larry Taylor (I)
12 No candidate Jane Nelson (I)
13 Rodney Ellis (I) No candidate
18 No candidate Lois Kolkhorst (I)
19 Carlos Uresti (I)
Helen Madla
Peter P. Flores
20 Juan Hinojosa (I) Velma A. Arellano
21 Judith Zaffirini (I) No candidate
22 Michael Collins Brian Birdwell (I)
24 Virginia Leeder Brent Mayes
Dawn Buckingham
Jon Cobb
Reed Williams
Ryan Downton
Susan King
26 Jose Menendez (I)
Trey Martinez Fischer
No candidate
27 Eddie Lucio (I)
O. Rodriguez Haro
No candidate
28 No candidate Charles Perry (I)
29 Jose R. Rodriguez (I) No candidate
Notes • An (I) denotes an incumbent.

Texas House Races
Source.

2016 Texas House candidates
District Democratic Party Democrat Republican Party Republican Other
1 No candidate Gary VanDeaver (I)
George Lavender
2 No candidate Bryan Slaton
Dan Flynn (I)
3 No candidate Cecil Bell, Jr. (I)
4 No candidate Lance Gooden
Stuart Spitzer (I)
5 No candidate Cole Hefner
Holly Coggins Hayes
Jay Misenheimer
Philip Hayes
Randy Davis
6 No candidate Matt Schaefer (I)
7 No candidate David Watts
Jay Dean
8 No candidate Byron Cook (I)
Thomas McNutt
9 No candidate Chris Paddie (I)
10 No candidate John Wray (I)
11 Stephen J. Wright Tony Sevilla
Travis Clardy (I)
12 No candidate Kyle Kacal (I)
Michael Stanford
Timothy Delasandro
13 Cecil R. Webster Leighton Schubert (I)
14 No candidate Jess Fields
John Raney (I)
15 No candidate Mark Keough (I)
16 No candidate Will Metcalf (I)
17 No candidate Brent Golemon
John Cyrier (I)
18 No candidate Ernest Bailes
J. Turner
James Morrison
Keith Strahan
Van Brookshire
Wesley Hinch
19 No candidate James White (I)
20 No candidate Marsha Farney (I)
Terry Wilson
21 No candidate Dade Phelan (I)
22 Joe Deshotel (I) No candidate
23 Lloyd Criss Wayne Faircloth (I)
24 No candidate Greg Bonnen (I)
25 No candidate Dennis Bonnen (I)
26 L. DeMerchant Rick Miller (I)
27 Angelique Bartholomew
Chris Henderson
Ron Reynolds (I)
Steve Brown
Ken Bryant
Mary Walker
28 No candidate John Zerwas (I)
29 John T. Floyd Ed Thompson (I)
30 No candidate Geanie Morrison (I)
31 Ryan Guillen (I) No candidate
32 No candidate Todd Hunter (I)
33 Cristin Padgett
Karen Jacobs
John Keating
Justin Holland
Lorne Liechty
34 Abel Herrero (I) No candidate
35 Oscar Longoria (I) No candidate
36 Abraham Padron
Sergio Munoz, Jr. (I)
No candidate
37 Rene Oliveira (I)
Don De Leon
No candidate
38 Eddie Lucio, III (I) No candidate
39 Armando Martinez (I) No candidate
40 Terry Canales (I) Maricela De Leon
41 Robert Guerra (I) Hilda Garza De Shazo
42 Richard Raymond (I) No candidate
43 Marisa Yvette Garcia-Utley J.M. Lozano (I)
44 Robert M. Bohmfalk John Kuempel (I)
45 No candidate Jason Isaac (I)
46 Dawnna Dukes (I) Gabriel Nila
47 Ana Jordan Jay Wiley
Paul Workman (I)
48 Donna Howard (I) No candidate
49 Aspen Dunaway
Blake Rocap
Elliott Naishtat (I)
Gina Hinojosa
Heather Way
Huey Rey Fischer
Kenton Johnson
Matthew Shrum
No candidate
50 Celia Israel (I) Ceasar Ruiz
51 Eddie Rodriguez (I) No candidate
52 No candidate Larry Gonzales (I)
53 Stephanie Lochte Ertel Andrew Murr (I)
54 Lan Carter
Sandra Blankenship
Austin Ruiz
Larry Smith
Scott Cosper
55 No candidate Hugh Shine
Molly White (I)
56 No candidate Charles Anderson (I)
57 No candidate Trent Ashby (I)
58 No candidate DeWayne Burns (I)
Philip Eby
59 No candidate Brent Graves
J.D. Sheffield (I)
60 No candidate Kevin Downing
Mike Lang
61 No candidate Phil King (I)
62 No candidate Larry Phillips (I)
63 No candidate Tan Parker (I)
64 Connor Flanagan
Paul Greco
Lynn Stucky
Read King
Rick Hagen
65 Alex Mendoza Ben Kissling
Ron Simmons (I)
66 Gnanse Nelson Matt Shaheen (I)
67 Scott Coleman Jeff Leach (I)
68 No candidate Drew Springer (I)
69 No candidate James Frank (I)
70 John Bryant Scott Sanford (I)
71 Pierce LoPachin Brian Scalf
Chris Carnohan
Isaac M. Castro
Stacey Scaief
Stan Lambert
72 No candidate Drew Darby (I)
73 No candidate Chris Byrd
Doug Miller (I)
Kyle Biedermann
74 Poncho Nevarez (I) No candidate
75 Chente Quintanilla
Mary Gonzalez (I)
No candidate
76 Cesar Blanco (I) No candidate
77 Adolfo Lopez
Evelina Ortega
No candidate
78 Joseph Moody (I) Jeffrey Lane
79 Joe Pickett (I) No candidate
80 Tracy King (I) No candidate
81 No candidate Brooks Landgraf (I)
Joshua Crawford
82 No candidate Tom Craddick (I)
83 No candidate Dustin Burrows (I)
84 No candidate Jim Landtroop
John Frullo (I)
85 John Davis Phil Stephenson (I)
86 No candidate John Smithee (I)
87 No candidate Four Price (I)
88 No candidate Ken King (I)
89 Denise Hamilton Dalton Lytle
Jodie Laubenberg (I)
90 Ramon Romero, Jr. (I) No candidate
91 No candidate Stephanie Klick (I)
92 Kim K. Leach Jonathan Stickland (I)
Scott W. Fisher
93 Nancy Bean Matt Krause (I)
94 No candidate Andrew Piel
Tony Tinderholt (I)
95 Nicole Collier (I) Albert McDaniel
96 Sandra D. Lee Bill Zedler (I)
Wesley Nelson
97 Andrew T. McKernon
Elizabeth Tarrant
Craig Goldman (I)
98 Maricela Sanchez Chibli Giovanni Capriglione (I)
99 No candidate Bo French
Charlie Geren (I)
100 Eric Johnson (I) No candidate
101 Chris Turner (I) Carlos Garza
102 Laura Irvin Linda Koop (I)
103 Rafael Anchia (I) No candidate
104 Roberto Alonzo (I) No candidate
105 Terry Meza Rodney Anderson (I)
106 No candidate Pat Fallon (I)
Trent Trubenbach
107 Victoria Neave Kenneth Sheets (I)
108 Joe Farkus Morgan Meyer (I)
109 Helen Giddings (I) A. Denise Russell
110 Toni Rose (I)
Sandra Crenshaw
No candidate
111 Yvonne Davis (I) Chad O. Jackson
112 Jack Blackshear Angie Chen Button (I)
Chris DeHart
113 Rhetta Andrews Bowers Cindy Burkett (I)
Jonathan Boos
114 Jim Burke Dan Morenoff
Jason Villalba (I)
115 Dorotha M. Ocker Bennett Ratliff
Matt Rinaldi (I)
116 Diana Arevalo
Martin Golando
Ruby Resendez
No candidate
117 Philip Cortez
San Carlos Antonio
Rick Galindo (I)
118 Gabe Farias
Tomas Uresti
John Lujan
Robert Casias
119 Roland Gutierrez (I) No candidate
120 Art Hall
Barbara Gervin-Hawkins
Byron Miller
Latronda Darnell
Lou Miller
Mario Salas
No candidate
121 No candidate Jeff Judson
Joe Straus (I)
Sheila Bean
122 No candidate Lyle Larson (I)
123 Diego Bernal (I) No candidate
124 Ina Minjarez (I)
Sergio Contreras
No candidate
125 Justin Rodriguez (I) No candidate
126 Cris Hernandez
Joy Dawson-Thomas
Kevin Roberts
127 No candidate Dan Huberty (I)
Mitchell Bosworth
128 No candidate Briscoe Cain
Melody McDaniel
Wayne Smith (I)
129 No candidate Dennis Paul (I)
130 No candidate Kay Smith
Tom Oliverson
131 Alma Allen (I)
John Shike
No candidate
132 No candidate Mike Schofield (I)
133 No candidate Jim Murphy (I)
134 Ben Rose David L. Palmer
Sarah Davis (I)
135 Jesse A. Ybanez Gary Elkins (I)
136 Paul R. Gordon Tony Dale (I)
137 Edward Pollard
Gene Wu (I)
Kendall Baker
138 No candidate Dwayne Bohac (I)
139 Jarvis Johnson
Jerry Ford
Kimberly Willis
Randy Bates
No candidate
140 Armando Walle (I) No candidate
141 Senfronia Thompson (I) No candidate
142 Harold Dutton, Jr. (I) No candidate
143 Ana Hernandez Luna (I) No candidate
144 Bernie Aldape III
Cody Ray Wheeler
Mary Ann Perez
Gilbert Pena (I)
145 Carol Alvarado (I) No candidate
146 Borris Miles (I) No candidate
147 Garnet Coleman (I) Matt Murphy
148 Jessica Farrar (I)
Dave Wilson
No candidate
149 Hubert Vo (I)
Demetria Smith
Bryan Chu
150 Michael Shawn Kelly Al Zolli
Debbie Riddle (I)
Theresa Hearn-Haynes
Valoree Swanson
Notes • An (I) denotes an incumbent.

Thank You
Thank you for being a member of TRTA! If you are not a member and are interested in joining, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650.

Protecting your retirement benefits is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your participation makes all the difference! Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to stay informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.