Campaign Chatter

Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.
Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.

Former state Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, will challenge Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, in a rematch of the 2010 primary where Simpson unseated Merritt. The first towel snaps from the Simpson camp came quickly after Merritt's announcement. They're zinging the former rep for voting against voter ID legislation and in favor of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Two-term county commissioner Jerry Garza, a Democrat from Webb County, will run in the Democratic primary against veteran state Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City. Garza said in August he was looking to challenge Democrat Tracy King, D-Batesville. But last week’s court-ordered interim maps placed Guillen’s HD-31 back in Webb County. Garza, a small-business owner and former news anchor, came out swinging, saying of his the incumbent, “He’s stood on the sidelines, and not taken the active approach to be an effective legislator and advocate for his district.”

Dallas dentist and horse racing advocate David Alameel, a Democrat, will run for Congress, he said in an email to supporters this week. He's challenging U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, whose redrawn congressional district is less Republican than the incumbent would like. It's still Republican, but it's also a district where more than half of the voting-age population is either Hispanic or African-American. In his email, Alameel said he'll start with $2 million in his campaign account.

The map-drawing federal judges in San Antonio gave state Rep. Ken Legler, R-Pasadena, a Democratic-leaning district, and he's drawn opposition. Pasadena City Councilman Ornaldo Ybarra says he'll run as a Democrat. Legler hasn't yet filed for re-election.

Texans for Lawsuit Reform continues the early endorsements, perhaps in hopes that the PAC's finances will scare away opponents from the TLR chosen. State Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, made the list. So did Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, who's running for the state Senate. That last endorsement included a blast at Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio — the incumbent Ames Jones is challenging — as an anti-tort reform candidate. His answer? They're cherry-picking to make him look bad. He's voted with the group, he says, 21 of 23 times.

That same PAC endorsed Republican Rep. Mark Shelton of Fort Worth in his bid for the SD-10 Senate seat. Shelton is challenging Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

Donna Campbell, who's also running against Wentworth, picked up an endorsement from former state Rep. Rick Green, R-Dripping Springs.

The political action committee affiliated with the Texas Association of Realtors is going against incumbent state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, in favor of his challenger, Marshall Mayor Chris Paddie. A couple of days later, Paddie got the nod from TexPAC, the Texas Medical Association's campaign fund.

It's ag week, apparently, for Republican David Dewhurst. He picked up endorsements for his U.S. Senate race from the PACs of the Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and from BEEF-PAC, the political arm of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. He closed the week with endorsements from thre former Texas Farm Bureau presidents.

The last state election of the year takes place next Tuesday in Brazos County, where there's a runoff for HD-14 between Bob Yancy and John Raney. Early voting is going on now. Raney picked up an endorsement from the Texas Medical Association's PAC. The two Republicans are vying for the spot emptied when state Rep. Fred Brown, R-Bryan, resigned earlier this year.

Our continually updated list of people who've filed for office can be found here. Our interactive maps showing, for any given address, the political districts in the current and future maps, is here.