While the Highland Lakes, the state and the nation may still be dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nov. 3 general election is just three weeks away and there are plenty of races remaining on the ballot to catch voters’ attention.
Not only will federal, state and county offices be decided during this election, but several communities had postponed their May city and school elections and those have been consolidated onto the Nov. 3 ballot as well.
Also, voters are no longer allowed to take part in straight-ticket voting as a new state law went into effect Sept. 1 which eliminates that option.
Marble Falls ISD has an election to determine two places on the school board. Incumbent Place 4 board member Larry “Coach” Berkman is running against challenger Justin Craig. Meanwhile, Place 3 has an unexpired term following the resignation of Lee Ann Johnson and there are two candidates for that position — Mandy McCary and Shelley Brasher.
The City of Granite Shoals has both a city council election as well as a tax proposition on the ballot. In Place 6, incumbent Will Skinner will be challenged by Phil Ort, while in Place 5, which is the to serve out an unexpired term, Shirley Martin faces off against Libby Edwards to replace Todd Holland, who moved out of the city limits. There are two unopposed races — Bruce A. Jones in Place 2 and Steve Hougen in Place 4.
Granite Shoals voters also will vote yea or nay to a proposition to reauthorize a one-cent sales and use tax to provide revenue for maintenance and repair of municipal streets.
Highland Haven is holding a special election with a proposition on the ballot to establish a twocent sales and use tax inside the city limits.
Burnet Consolidated ISD has an election for school board with one contested race. In Place 7, incumbent Mark Kincaid is being challenged by Tricia Carr. In Place 3, Suzanne Brown is running unopposed for re-election.
While Bertram mayor Adam Warden is unopposed, it is a four-person race for three places on the city council in Bertram. Candidates include incumbent Kim Allen Klose as well as Jean Worrell, Stephanie Fitzsimmons and Allen Rodgers.
Both ESD 2 and ESD 5 are holding sales tax and use elections on propositions which would allow them to levy a two-cent sales tax within their jurisdictions.
Kingsland MUD is electing two board members. In Place 1, Karen Oustad and Mary Ann Hefner face off, while in Place 2, it’s a threeway race between Dianne Wolfington, Frank Willingham and Elizabeth Watson.
Countywide races were already decided in the March primary — held before the coronavirus outbreak threw a monkey wrench into everyone’s 2020 planning calendar. Only Republicans had signed up to run for those races, so the winners of the Republican primaries are automatically elected to these positions.
They include 33rd District Judge Allan Garrett; District Attorney Wiley B. “Sonny” McAfee; County Attorney Eddie Arredondo; Sheriff Calvin Boyd; Tax Assessor-Collector Sheri Frazier; Pct. 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr.; Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall; Pct. 1 Constable Leslie Ray; Pct. 2 Constable Garry Adams; Pct. 3 Constable John “Chip” Leake; and Pct. 4 Constable Millicent “Missy” Bindseil.
In addition to the Burnet CISD and KMUD races, which also impact portions of Llano County, there are elections for Llano ISD and Johnson City ISD on the ballot. In Llano ISD, Place 3 is a choice between Rick Tisdale and Charlie White Jr., while Place 4 is between Carlos Strand and Cody Fly.
For Johnson City ISD, Place 7 features a race between Cristol Carbary Corpus and Carlette R. Lewis. In Place 6, Sarah Allen is running unopposed.
Countywide races were already determined in the March primary and July runoff election as there were no Democrats running for office, so Republican winners are unopposed. They include 33rd District Judge Allan Garrett; District Attorney Wiley B. “Sonny” McAfee; Dwain Rogers, who is succeeding Becca Lange as County Attorney; Sheriff Bill Blackburn; Tax Assessor-Collector Kris Fogelberg; Pct. 1 Commissioner Peter Jones; Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Sandoval; Pct. 3 JP Debra (Deb) Edwards; Pct. 1 Constable Gary Olfers; Pct. 2 Constable Richard Harris; Pct. 3 Constable William (Bill) Edwards; and Pct. 4 Constable Joe “Buck” Simpson Jr.
State and federal races
The biggest race, of course, is at the top of the ballot, where incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the Republican nominees, square off against Democratic challengers Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Other party candidates include Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen of the Libertarian Party and Howie Hawkins/Angela Walker of the Green Party.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, will be challenged for his seat by Democrat Mary “MJ” Hegar, Libertarian Kerry Douglas McKennon and Green Party candidate David B. Collins. Meanwhile, incumbent U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican, will face off in District 25 against Democrat challenger Julie Oliver and Libertarian Bill Kelsey.
The seat of the retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway in District 11 is up for grabs and fighting for it are Republican August Pfluger, Democrat Jon Mark Hogg and Libertarian Wacey Alpha Cody.
In the Texas Senate District 24 race, incumbent state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, is being challenged by Democrat Clayton Tucker. In the Texas House District 20 race, incumbent Rep. Terry Wilson, R-Marble Falls, faces Democrat Jessica Tiedt. In the Texas House District 53 race, incumbent Rep. Andrew S. Murr, R-Junction, has a challenger in Democrat Joe P. Herrera.
There are two State Board of Education races of local interest. In SBOE 5, candidates to replace retiring Ken Mercer are Republican Lani Popp, Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Libertarian Stephanie Berlin. In SBOE 10, incumbent Republican Tom Maynard is challenged by Democrat Marsha Burnett-Webster and Libertarian Trip Seibold.
Other races on the state ballot include:
• Railroad Commissioner: James “Jim” Wright, R; Chrysta Castaneda, D; Matt Sterett, L: and Katija “Kat” Gruene, G.
• Chief Justice, Supreme Court: Nathan Hecht, R(i); Amy Clark Meachum, D; Mark Ash, L.
• Place 6 Supreme Court (unexpired): Jane Bland, R(i), and Kathy Cheng, D.
• Place 7 Supreme Court: Jeff Boyd, R(i); Staci Williams, D; and William Bryan Strange III, L.
• Place 8 Supreme Court: Brett Busby, R(i); Gisela D. Triana, D; and Tom Oxford, L.
• Place 3 Court of Criminal Appeals: Bert Richardson, R(i), and Elizabeth Davis Frizell, D.
• Place 4 Court of Criminal Appeals: Kevin Patrick Yeary, R(i), and Tina Clinton, D.
• Place 9 Court of Criminal Appeals: David Newell, R(i), and Brandon Birmingham, D.
• Chief Justice, Third Court of Appeals: Jeff Rose, R(i), and Darlene Byrne, D.