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Campaign Chatter

The filings are in, the candidates are raising money and looking for support. It is finally primary season in Texas.

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams announces U.S. Senate candidacy at TribLive on January 27, 2011.

Federal income tax returns aren't even due to the IRS yet, but Republican Michael Williams, a candidate for his party's nomination in Congressional District 25, has posted his 2011 returns online and called on his primary opponents to do the same. According to the returns, Williams and his wife, Donna, paid $64,357 in federal taxes on $337,346 in adjusted gross income in 2011. They gave $36,551 to charity.

Former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, a Dallas Democrat trying to win a new open congressional district in Dallas and Tarrant counties, won endorsements from a group of local officials that includes state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.

Kesha Rogers has an unusual handicap in her Democratic primary fight with KP George — the Fort Bend County Democratic Party has endorsed him. Rogers is a Lyndon LaRouche supporter and activist; her local party took her petitions, but doesn't want to send her to Congress in CD-22. [Editor's note: An earlier version said Rogers paid a filing fee; she got on the ballot with petitions instead.]

Democrat Keith Hampton is still on the ballot after a challenge by Sharon Keller, the incumbent presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Hampton didn't have enough petition signatures, but Keller made her official complaint before the filing deadline; he got the signatures he needed before the bell rang.

Ted Cruz won the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America's Political Victory Fund in his bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Jim Herblin's list of endorsees now includes Cooke County Sheriff Michael Compton and the mayors of Prosper and Gunter, and the former mayor of Josephine. Herblin, who's from Prosper, is challenging state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, in the GOP primary for SD-30.

House Speaker Joe Straus is doing a fundraiser for Rep. James White, R-Hillister, in a couple of weeks. White is in a primary with incumbent state Rep. Tuffy Hamilton of Mauriceville.

The Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed J.M. Lozano, R-Edinburg, in HD-43. Two years ago, he defeated an incumbent backed by TLR in the Democratic primary. Everything is changed: He's now a Republican, and they're on his side this time.

Vy Nguyen, a Democrat running for the House in HD-26, picked up the support of U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston. She'll face one of several Republicans in the general election.

Bennett Ratliff, one of several Republicans chasing the nomination in HD-115, won an endorsement from the Texas Civil Justice League.

Jeff Leach, a Republican running for the House in HD-67, got the endorsement of the political arm of the Texas Association of Realtors. That same PAC endorsed Scott Sanford, a Republican, in HD-70, and Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, in HD-57. Ashby is challenging incumbent Rep. Marva Beck of Centerville, in the primary.

Magnolia Republican Cecil Bell Jr., running for the Texas House in HD-3, won the endorsement of state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville. In another race, Nichols endorsed Randy Stevenson, who's challenging State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff in the GOP primary.

Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman endorsed state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, in HD-7's Republican primary. Simpson also got a nod from Tom Pauken, the chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission and a former chairman of the Texas GOP.

The Texas Home School Coalition PAC endorsed Stuart Spitzer, a Republican challenging Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, in HD-4.

Republican Susan Todd picked up an endorsement from the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association in her bid for the HD-97 seat in Tarrant County.

Ron Simmons, running for the Texas House in Denton County's HD-65, says he's got endorsements from a list of local officeholders headlined by County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell.

Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, got an endorsement from the political action committee of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He's running for reelection in HD-11.

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