District 1 (Texarkana) Incumbent: Stephen Frost (D) Republican primary: Jack Ballard vs. George Lavender COH: (30 days): Ballard $4,928, Lavender $1,500 The race: The winner will face Frost in the general election. Lavender lost to Frost in the 2008 general election. District 2 (Greenville) Incumbent: Dan Flynn Republican primary: Richard “Link” Linkenauger vs. Flynn COH: (30 days): Flynn $41,362.83, Linkenauger $11,939.03 The race: Flynn may have been too complacent about this race, leading to rumors that he was in trouble. Linkenauger was a Bush appointee to the Sabine River Authority. He is a strong advocate of public education and has the Parent PAC endorsement. The mayors of Greenville and Commerce have also endorsed him. Flynn may have turned an easy race into a hard-fought one. District 3: (Paris) Incumbent: Mark Homer (D) Republican primary: Holland Harper, Erwin Cain COH: Harper $750 (but a newspaper article says he loaned his campaign $210,000), Cain $36,390.86 The race: Harper and Cain have been firing shots at each other, most recently at a candidates’ forum in Sulphur Springs. Cain is a Republican party activist and his Web site has a long list of endorsements (46) from other Republican activists. Harper is a newcomer to politics. This is a district Republicans would love to pick up, extending their stranglehold on rural Texas. Homer is one of the few remaining WD-40s. He will have a tough race in the fall. To link to the Paris News’ account of the forum, click HERE. District 4 (Kaufman and Henderson counties) Incumbent: Betty Brown (R) Republican primary: Lance Gooden vs. Brown COH: Brown $22,831.83, Gooden $9,050 The race: Gooden, 26, is a former intern on Brown’s staff who is running aggressively. The problem facing Brown is that Kaufman is a fast-growning suburban county on Dallas’s southeastern flank, and the demographics may be shifting away from her Henderson County base. District 7 (Longview) Incumbent: Tommy Merritt (R) Republican primary: David Simpson vs. Merritt COH: Simpson $30,543.71, Merritt $56,617 The race: $20,000 of Simpson’s money comes from a Mr. Phil Simpson. Still, Simpson has been running enough of a campaign that he has spent $27,701.60 with Encore Multimedia. Merritt has raised very little money. His report shows $191,611 in outstanding loans. This seems very odd, but unless a Bob Perry or a Leininger or someone of that ilk dumps a lot of late money into this race, Merritt should win again. District 11 (Jacksonville) Incumbent: Chuck Hopson (former D turned R) Republican primary: Hopson, Michael Banks, Allan Cain COH: Hopson $157,734.60, Banks $84,834.54, Cain 0 The race: Hopson got himself in trouble when it leaked out that he had told fellow Democrats he would continue voting with them after he switched parties. Cain, a former GOP county chairman (Panola County), attacked Hopson on Facebook for not being a real Republican. Banks supported Hopson when Hopson was a Democrat. Most of Banks’ money is from a loan. He has raised — and spent — less than $10,000. District 14 (Bryan) Incumbent: Fred Brown (R) Republican primary: Blanche Brick, Gerald “Buddy” Winn, and Rick Davis vs. Brown. COH: Brown $52,171.88, Brick $1,853.87, Davis $1,556.44, Winn $0 The race: Opinions differ on whether the stronger challenger to Brown is Winn, who for many years served as county tax-assessor collector and was a fixture on the local ballot, or Davis, a former district judge. District 20 (Georgetown) Incumbent: Dan Gattis, (R), is not seeking reelection. Republican primary: Dr. Charles Schwertner, Steve Thomas, Milton Rister, and Patsy Williams will vie for the open seat. COH: Schwertner $148,589.98, Thomas $8,935, Rister $5,277.48, Williams 0. Schwertner’s war chest is swelled by $125,000 in loans. The race: Gattis was running for the Senate last fall when he abruptly pulled out and exited from politics, citing business and family reasons. Rister was already running to succeed him in the House. He is well known around the Capitol as a Republican operative and master of the dark arts of politics. He has close ties to Dewhurst and Craddick, and they put him in charge of the Legislative Council, where he served until the end of the 09 session. Rister’s family has deep roots in the district. He has been endorsed by the Williamson County Sun, which is published by another family with deep roots in the district. He also has the endorsements of most of the hardline conservative organizations (Young Conservatives of Texas, right-to-lifers, etc.) Schwertner, a newcomer to politics, is an orthopedic surgeon who has treated many patients in Sun City, a mother lode of Republican votes. Thomas served on the city council in Cedar Park, an Austin suburb with big ambitions (a Schlitterbahn water park will locate there) and has endorsements from a number of local officials in the district. Like Rister, he has put in time at the Capitol; he was executive director of the much loathed Texas Residential Construction Commission. Thomas was endorsed by the American Statesman. How that will play in the ‘burbs is an interesting matter. Williams, the fourth candidate, is a concealed handgun instructor. She is not expected to be a factor in the race. A runoff is highly likely. District 44 (Seguin) Incumbent: Edmund Kuempel (R) Republican field: Robin Walker vs. Kuempel COH: Kuempel $108,716.85, Walker 0 The race: I only mention this race because it involves one of the “Cardinals.” A lobbyist told me Walker was running to get her name out there. District 52 (Round Rock) Incumbent: Diana Maldonado (D) Republican primary field: Stephen Casey, Alyssa Eacono, Larry Gonzales, John Gordon COH (30 days): Casey $907.89, Eacono 0, Gonzales $31,108.98, Gordon $30,825.52 The race: Gonzales has worked nine sessions as a Capitol staffer. He has a long list of conservative endorsements (Texas Alliance for Life, Young Conservatives of Texas, Empower Texas, etc.) Gordon describes himself on his Web site as “The Father of the Williamson County Republican Party.” True enough, but he’s going back to 1978. The conventional wisdom is that Gonzales would be the stronger candidate against Maldonado, who is widely regarded as vulnerable. The fall race will be a pivotal one as Republicans try to regain a suburban district they lost in 2008.
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