Closely Watched Primary Races

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) ends its “Good Voter Health” series today with an important strategic article about high-profile contested races in Texas.

As we mentioned in Day 2 of our series, TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office. It is vital, however, that our members research the candidates in their area and ask them tough questions about the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), the defined benefit plan, and the TRS-Care health insurance program.

To locate the candidates running for office in your area, we recommend using Ballotpedia:

There are several key races that TRTA is following closely this primary season. Most legislative elections are decided during the primaries and not during the November general election. For this reason, we encourage all of our members to VOTE early in February (16-26) or on Tuesday, March 1.

If you live in an area where some of these key races are taking place, it is very important that you get in touch with the candidates and find out their answers to the following questions, and it is absolutely VITAL that you VOTE in the primaries:

  • 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?

As we mentioned in yesterday’s series (Day 4), TRTA is often asked by its members, “Whom should I vote for?” Although TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office, we strongly encourage our members to talk to each other and ask the following: Who are you voting for and why?

Your fellow retirees may be your best resource in helping you determine which candidate may be more favorable to issues impacting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Now is the time to have these important conversations with each other and to learn more about the candidates! TALK TO EACH OTHER! Share information!

Whether or not we endorse candidates, we MUST be involved in the political process. Our organization’s success depends upon our involvement! Our members’ lifetime of educating others did not end in the classroom, and continues as we educate candidates about the TRS pension fund and TRS-Care health insurance program.

High-Profile Races to Watch

Please note that we have first listed the incumbent in each district and the same party candidate(s) that the incumbent faces in the primary election (this is the contested race). In fairness, we have also listed candidates of other parties that are running for the same seat whether or not they face a challenger. During the general election in November, the candidate who wins the contested race and the other party candidate(s) will face each other.

We have included a link to a map for each district. If you are not sure if you reside in the district listed, review the map or use the Texas Legislature website to determine your district.

High-Profile Contested Texas Senate Races

Senate District 1
Senator Kevin Eltife is retiring. The following Republican candidates are vying for this open seat: Bryan HughesDavid SimpsonJames K. Red Brown, and Mike Lee. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

Senate District 24
Senator Troy Fraser is retiring. Democratic candidate Virginia Leeder does not face a challenger in the Democratic primary. Republican candidates facing each other in the Republican primary are: Brent MayesDawn BuckinghamJon CobbReed WilliamsRyan Downton, and Susan King.

Senate District 26
Senator Jose Menendez faces a challenger in the Democratic primary, Trey Martinez Fischer. There are no Republican candidates vying for this seat.

High-Profile Contested Texas House Races

House District 1
Representative Gary VanDeaver faces challenger George Lavender in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 2
Representative Dan Flynn faces challenger Bryan Slaton in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 4
Representative Stuart Spitzer faces challenger and former Representative Lance Gooden in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 5
Representative Bryan Hughes has resigned to run for the Texas Senate. The following Republican candidates will face each other in the primary election: Cole HefnerHolly Coggins HayesJay MisenheimerPhilip Hayes, and Randy Davis. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 8
Representative Byron Cook faces challenger Thomas McNutt in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 11
Representative Travis Clardy faces challenger Tony Sevilla in the Republican primary. Democrat Stephen J. Wright is also vying for this seat, but faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 12
Representative Kyle Kacal faces challengers Michael Stanford and Timothy Delasandro in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 14
Representative John Raney faces challenger Jess Fields in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 17
Representative John Cyrier faces challenger Brent Golemon in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 18
Representative John Otto is retiring. The following Republican candidates will face each other in the primary election: Ernest BailesJ. TurnerJames MorrisonKeith StrahanVan Brookshire, and Wesley Hinch. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 20
Representative Marsha Farney faces challenger Terry Wilson in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 47
Representative Paul Workman faces challenger Jay Wiley in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Ana Jordan faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 54
Representative Jimmie Don Aycock is retiring. The following Republican candidates face each other in the primary election: Austin RuizLarry Smith, and Scott Cosper. The following Democratic candidates face each other in the primary election: Lan Carter and Sandra Blankenship.

House District 58
Representative DeWayne Burns faces challenger Philip Eby in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 59
Representative J.D. Sheffield faces challenger Brent Graves in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 60
Representative Jim Keffer is retiring. The following Republican candidates face each other in the primary election: Kevin Downing and Mike Lang. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 65
Representative Ron Simmons faces challenger Ben Kissling in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Alex Mendoza faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 73
Representative Doug Miller faces challengers Kyle Biedermann and Chris Byrd in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 81
Representative Brooks Landgraf faces challenger Joshua Crawford in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 84
Representative John Frullo faces challenger Jim Landtroop in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 89
Representative Jodie Laubenberg faces challenger Dalton Lytle in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Denise Hamilton faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 92
Representative Jonathan Stickland faces challenger Scott W. Fisher in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Kim K. Leach does not face any challengers in the primary election.

House District 94
Representative Tony Tinderholt faces challenger Andrew Piel in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 99
Representative Charlie Geren faces challenger Bo French in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 113
Representative Cindy Burkett faces challenger Jonathan Boos in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Rhetta Andrews Bowers faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 115
Representative Matt Rinaldi faces challenger and former Representative Bennett Ratliff in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Dorotha M. Ocker does not face any challengers in the primary election.

House District 121
Representative Joe Straus faces challengers Sheila Bean and Jeff Judson in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 127
Representative Dan Huberty faces challenger Mitchell Bosworth in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 128
Representative Wayne Smith faces challengers Briscoe Cain and Melody McDaniel in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 131
Representative Alma Allen faces challenger John Shike in the Democratic primary. There are no Republican candidates vying for this seat.

House District 134
Representative Sarah Davis faces challenger David L. Palmer in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Ben Rose faces no challengers in the primary.

Tell Everyone You Know

Please help us get the word out about the races listed above if you live in an area with a high profile election, and tell your fellow retirees, family members and friends to get out and VOTE February 16-26 or on March 1! Usually, if a candidate does not win the “early vote,” they don’t win the overall vote in the primary.

We hope we have expressed the significance of voting in the primary elections over the past several days. Please keep this in mind: this is NOT a marathon, it’s a sprint! The starting gun has sounded. We must act NOW. We have only until March 1 to make sure that we protect the interests of our members in the Texas Legislature.

If you have any questions about these high profile races, please contact TRTA at info@trta.org or 1.800.880.1650. Remember, you can view ALL races for the Texas Senate and House online using the Ballotpedia links below:

 

Thank You!

We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from our “Good Voter Health” series and are prepared to VOTE during the primary election! Your vote in the 2016 primary election is VITAL!

You can view the other four days of our Voter Health Series below:

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.