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Campaign Chatter

A looming special election in Bryan, and movement in Fort Worth and El Paso top the list of political moves this week.

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John Raney won the endorsement of the Texas chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business in the special election in HD-14. Fellow Republican Rebecca Boenigk, meanwhile, got the endorsements of the Texas Association of Builders and the Texas Restaurant Association. They are among five candidates in that race, which includes one more Republican, a Democrat and a Libertarian. That's the race to finish out Rep. Fred Brown's term in the Texas House. The Bryan Republican resigned earlier this summer to pursue a new job. Election Day is November 8; early voting starts on October 24.

Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth, says he'll run for the Texas Senate spot occupied right now by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. It's been redrawn as a Republican seat, though Davis is fighting that in court and says she'll run whether she wins the court fight or not. Shelton won't be alone in that primary, but says he's got an advantage running as the Fort Worth candidate. Rep. Kelly Hancock brought weapons, too. The Republican from North Richland Hills scored an endorsement from former Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen. And Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, headlined a fundraiser for him this week.

Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-Tornillo, told the El Paso Times he's dropping out of the House to run for the El Paso County Commissioner's Court. He's been thinking openly about that, and Hector Enriquez has been thinking about running for his House seat.

Add former Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, to the "maybe" roster in SD-9, where Chris Harris has decided to retire. Harris wants Victor Vandergriff to run and Vandergriff says he's looking. Goodman, who was city attorney when Tom Vandergriff was mayor of Arlington, says he's doing some polling to see what's what and will make a decision by mid-month. He and Victor apparently haven't talked yet. Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Grand Prairie, is the only declared candidate — he was running against Harris until Harris dropped out. Anderson picked up endorsements from three members of Grand Prairie's city council and from Irving's mayor and mayor pro-tem.

Austin attorney Keith Hampton changed races — he'll run for presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He had announced for another seat on that court out of deference to another candidate, but that candidate — TCCA Judge Lawrence Meyers — apparently won't run for the top spot. Hampton, a Democrat, will be taking on incumbent Republican Sharon Keller.

Dr. Donna Campbell moved to New Braunfels and says she'll run against Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. She previously ran against U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. She was from Columbus then — well outside of Wentworth's district.

Bracy Wilson, a McKinney Republican, is off and running in HD-70 — the district now represented by Ken Paxton, R-McKinney. Paxton is running for the Senate, freeing the seat. Wilson was a minister for 19 years and now helps start charter schools.

Trent Ashby, president of the Lufkin school board, will run against Rep. Marva Beck, R-Centerville, in HD-57. That's uphill: She's a freshman, but she got into office with heavy backing from Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

That group endorsed Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, in an HD-9 GOP primary with Marshall Mayor Chris Paddie. And they'll back Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, in his reelection bid. He's alone in that race, for now, but former Rep. Delwin Jones, who lost the GOP primary runoff to Perry in 2010, has been checking around for a possible rematch.

Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, has drawn a GOP primary challenger: Steve Toth, owner of a local pool company and a leader in the Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC.

Ryan Downton, who worked as clerk of the House Redistricting Committee, apparently likes the maps: He'll run against Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, in the GOP primary, and accuses the incumbent of being too liberal for the district.

Mac Smith will run for Warren Chisum's open seat in the Panhandle. Chisum, R-Pampa, is running for the Texas Railroad Commission. Smith, a lawyer who's also from Pampa, says he'd continue on with what Chisum has been doing.

Rep. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, got Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski's endorsement for his Senate bid. That's geographically significant: Schwertner is trying to win Steve Ogden's seat, which would move the district's senator from Bryan to Georgetown. Schwertner, a surgeon, also picked up the endorsment of the Texas Medical Association's PAC.

That group also endorsed Greg Bonnen, who's running in HD-24. Bonnen's a doctor, too, and also the brother of Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.

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