Texas’ 2016 election season formally kicked off Saturday as candidates flocked to their party headquarters to submit their names for slots on next year’s primary ballots.
Candidates seeking jobs ranging from state representative to county constable turned in their paperwork and filing fees at local Republican and Democratic party headquarters to make it on Tarrant County’s March 1 primary ballots.
“We are excited to have so much enthusiasm,” said Deborah Peoples, who heads the Tarrant County Democratic Party. “I know Republicans like to think they have Tarrant County locked up, but they don’t.
“We will be challenging Republicans all over Tarrant County.”
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Local Democrats began first, accepting the first filing just before 8 a.m.
We are Democrats. We have to get up earlier and stay up later.
Tarrant County Commissioner Roy C. Brooks
Local Republicans opened their doors a few hours later, right before 1 p.m.
“It is an exciting day, the beginning of an exciting time,” said Jennifer Hall, chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party. “We are excited to have a lot of great candidates.”
Hall acknowledged that Republican candidates traditionally dominate the Tarrant County ballot. “We work hard to be able to do that,” she said.
The early bird gets the worm.
Tim O’Hare, a candidate for Tarrant County Republican Party chair, on filing on the first day
Candidates have until Dec. 14 to file for a spot on the ballot.
Those running in districts entirely in Tarrant County file at party headquarters in Fort Worth. Candidates in districts that cover more than one county must file with state party headquarters in Austin. They formally register by paying a filing fee or turning in a petition of people who support their bid.
The Secretary of State’s website, which will list the candidates who file in Austin, was down for maintenance Saturday.
At the Democratic Party headquarters, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy C. Brooks was the first to file. Brooks is seeking re-election to precinct one.
“We are Democrats,” he said. “We have to get up earlier and stay up later.”
When asked why he filed so early, he said he had a busy day planned. “If I didn’t do it now, it would have to wait and I didn’t want it to wait,” he said.
Before he had finished with his paperwork, Tarrant County Constable Michael R. Campbell joined him at the filing table to file for re-election to Precinct 8.
“I wanted to be one of the first to file,” Campbell said. “You want to lead, ... and be out front. It was no secret I was going to file for re-election.”
Within the first hour, Democratic state Reps. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie and Nicole Collier of Fort Worth turned in their paperwork as well. And Sandra Lee turned in her paperwork to run for House District 96, currently represented by Arlington Republican Bill Zedler.
At the Tarrant County Republican Party headquarters, Lisa Lumley, a candidate for the 348th District Court, was the first to file.
Dana Womack, the current 248th district judge, has told Republicans she is not running for re-election.
“I was the first to announce my candidacy,” Lumley said. “Perhaps this is a lucky omen. Maybe I’ll be first in the primary results.”
State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, was the next to file and was followed by Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright.
“I want to get it done,” Klick said.
Wright said he chose to file on the first day “to eliminate any doubt” about his seeking another term in office.
“I always try to file on the first day,” he said. “That way, it answers anyone’s question on whether I’m going to run again.”
State Rep. Bill Zedler of Arlington, and Bedford pastor Scott Fisher, who is challenging state Rep. Jonathan Stickland of Bedford for the House District 92 seat, filed in the first hour as well.
Two people filed for the post of Tarrant County Republican Party chair — Tim O’Hare, a former Farmers Branch councilman who showed up with his wife and their three daughters, and David Wylie, a longtime GOP activist. Hall is not seeking re-election to the post.
O’Hare said he brought his family with him because “we want to raise our kids to know to be involved.”
Wylie said he filed Saturday because “it’s important to show my commitment to this cause.”
On the ballot
The race for the White House will top Texas’ primary ballots.
Under that will be battles for all of Texas’ U.S. Representative seats, a Railroad Commission post, three Texas Supreme Court seats, three Texas Court of Criminal Appeals posts, eight state Board of Education positions, 16 state Senate districts, all Texas House seats and a host of judicial posts.
Also on the ballot will be races for Tarrant County Sheriff, Tax Assessor Collector, two county commissioner posts and eight county constable positions.
Tarrant County candidates
Local candidates who filed early Saturday:
Democrats: Tarrant County Commissioner Precinct 1 Roy Charles Brooks; state Reps. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, and Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth; Sandra Lee, a candidate for House District 96; and Tarrant County Constable Precinct 8 Michael R. Campbell.
Republicans: Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright; state Reps. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, and Bill Zedler, R-Arlington; Scott Fisher, a candidate for House District 92; 48th District Judge David Evans; 67th District Judge Don Cosby; 352nd District Judge Mark Pittman; 360th Family District Judge Mike Sinha; Lisa Lumley, a candidate for 248th District Court; Joe D. “Jody” Johnson, a candidate for Tarrant County Constable Precinct 4; and Tim O’Hare and David Wylie for Tarrant County Republican Party chair.
Source: Tarrant County Democratic Party; Tarrant County Republican Party, Republican Party of Texas