AUSTIN (KXAN) — A number of Texas House districts in Central Texas have primaries this year. Primaries decide which candidate will receive the nomination for their political party and go on to compete to be your representative.
House District 17
The Republican primary for District 17 has significantly more candidates than many of the other Texas races. This may be because the Republican incumbent, John Cyrier, is not seeking re-election. The district covers Bastrop County, Caldwell County, Gonzales County, Karnes County and Lee County.
Five candidates ran for the Republican nomination and the race is headed to a runoff. Madeline Eden is the lone Democrat who will face the winner of the primary in November.
Jen Bezner describes herself on her campaign website as “a born-again Christian, wife, mother, conservative, and a Bastrop County resident for 17 years (who) cherishes her freedom.” She graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Recreational Services and later received her Master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. According to her website, she is pro-life and believes in medical freedom to decide if you will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, an unrestricted second amendment, limited government, the free market economy, “Texas values,” and “protecting women’s sports” by not allowing trans athletes to play in them.
Stan Gerdes describes himself on his campaign website as “a lifelong Texan and conservative Republican.” He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. According to his website his political intentions are to “protect all innocent life, advance the 2nd amendment, finish the wall, secure the border, cut property taxes, (ensure) no government mandates, ban critical race theory, better public school funding, create good jobs (and) strengthen Texas energy production.” Gerdes served in the Trump administration as senior advisor for the Department of Energy.
Tom Glass describes himself on his campaign website as a candidate with “a strong internal moral compass (who) is dedicated to doing the right thing and thinking for himself.” He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and later received a master’s degree from Harvard Business School and a Juris Doctor degree from The University of Houston. On his website, he lists his top four issues as “secur(ing) our groundwater, enforc(ing) our constitutions, corralling executive overreach, protect(ing) the Texas electrical grid and implement(ing) RPT (Republican Party of Texas) priorities.”
Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape describes himself on his campaign website as “a husband, father, grandfather, business owner and public servant (who wants) to make sure that future generations have the freedom, safety and opportunity to live their American Dream right here in Central Texas.” Paul graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in Business Administration. According to his website he believes in securing the border, decreasing taxes and regulation, “defending” public safety and the needs of law enforcement, increasing voter transparency, the “right to life,” giving citizens the choice to or to not take the COVID-19 vaccine, increasing the funding of the public education system and “defending” water rights.
Trey Rutledge describes himself on his campaign website as “a strong constitutional conservative Republican (and) a pro-gun, pro-life and pro-god veteran who will always fight for the safety and freedoms of all Texans.” Trey is a Marine Corps Veteran and currently working towards a political science degree with a minor in philosophy from Texas A&M. His political platform includes “the right to keep and bear arms, securing the southern border, ending abortion, eliminating property tax(es), ending critical race theory, (protecting) property rights, election integrity, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, protecting Texas businesses, protecting agriculture (and) protecting veterans and first responders.”
Gerdes received 29.96% of the vote (6,250), Pape got 27.72% (5,783), Glass got 25.69% (5,359), Rutledge got 10.12% (2,111) and Bezner got 6.51% (1,358).
House District 19
The District 19 race includes numerous candidates who have previously been in the public eye for their work in the community. Yet, none of them have served as a state representative before.
The district covers Hardin County, Jasper County, Newton County, Polk County and Tyer County.
The Republican incumbent, James White, is not seeking re-election.
Five candidates ran for the nomination. Pam Baggett is the lone Democrat and will face the Republican winner in November.
KXAN projected just before midnight Ellen Troxclair and Justin Berry will advance to a runoff in the Republican primaries in Texas House District 19. Troxclair had 38.15% (12,326) of the vote, Berry got 35.38% (11,399), Devine got 21.80% (7,026) and Hopkins got 4.57% (1,472).
Police officer Justin Berry describes himself on his campaign website as an Austin native who understands “the importance of a strong work ethic, faith in God and community service.” His website says he “will bring his extensive background in law enforcement to protect our neighborhoods, schools and private property” as a state representative. His four priorities are listed as “safe neighborhoods, strong public and higher education, free market economy and defend(ing) our constitutional rights.” Berry was recently one of 19 Austin officers who were indicted related to use-of-force concerns during May 2020 racial justice protests.
Former Austin City Council member Ellen Troxclair describes herself on her campaign website as “a small business owner, nonprofit leader, devoted mom, and proven conservative.” She’s worked as a Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Army Futures Command. Her political platform includes “secur(ing) the border, ensur(ing) the integrity of our elections, champion(ing) the second amendment, protect(ing) unborn life, prohibit(ing) vaccine mandates, preserv(ing) the hill country’s natural resources and values and stop(ing) leftist indoctrination and critical race theory in our schools.”
Nubia Devine describes herself on her campaign website as “a proud mother of seven, grandmother and pilot (who) has proudly served the state of Texas and her community for more than 33 years.” She worked for Austin City Council member Don Zimmerman as well as two “conservative champions” in the House of Representatives: Kyle Biedermann and Briscoe Cain. Her political platform includes securing the Texas border, improving election integrity, banning the teaching of critical race theory, improving education, “protecting children” from any gender reassignment therapies and procedures, passing property tax reform, protecting property rights, improving the hill country economy and banning vaccination mandates.
Perla Hopkins describes herself on her campaign website as “a veteran, educator, wife, mother of three, small business owner and community leader.” She holds three master’s degrees in Education and Spanish Literature, two from Mississippi State University and one from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. The key issues listed on her website are “preserv(ing) constitutional rights and liberties, protect(ing) medical rights and right to life, guarantee(ing) quality public education, defend(ing) parental and child rights, honor(ing) first responders and military, secur(ing) election procedures, increas(ing) safety and border security and lower(ing) taxes.”
House District 45
Last election cycle, the District 45 election was an extremely close race, being decided by a 1% lead for Erin Zwiener, who is seeking reelection for this cycle.
Zwiener ran away with the Democratic primary victory with 81% of the vote over challengers Angela Villescaz and Jessica Mejia. Zwiener received 8,125 votes to Villescaz’s 1,220. Mejia received 721 votes.
District 45 covers Blanco County and Hays County.
Zwiener will face Republican Michelle M. Lopez in November.
Zwiener describes herself on her campaign website as “a conservationist, educator and a fifth-generation Texan (who) is passionate about helping our government work better for all Texans.” Her agenda for Texas includes “common sense government,” reforming criminal justice, improving education, caring for the environment, ensuring fair elections, expanding Medicaid and reproductive rights and “protecting all Texans.”
House District 50
The District 50 race is unique as an incumbent, Democratic Rep. James Talarico, is seeking election. However, he is not the incumbent for this district.
After redistricting, he moved away from his position in Williamson County to aim for the District 50 seat which is currently held by Celia Israel. Israel is not seeking re-election.
Talarico rolled to the primary win over David Alcorta 78% to 22%. Talarico received 9,057 votes to Alcorta’s 2,493.
“My community has my back. Together, we will continue to put people over politics and move this great state forward,” Talarico wrote after his win.
The district covers parts of Travis County including almost half of Pflugerville, most of Webberville and all of Wells Branch CDP.
Talarico will face Republican Victor Johnson in November.
House District 51
The District 51 race had the most candidates vying for their party’s nomination out of the districts mentioned in this article.
District 51 covers parts of Travis County including half of Mustang Ridge, a large section of Webberville and all of Creedmoor, Garfield CDP and Hornsby Bend.
Maria Flores captured the Democratic nomination with 60% of the vote, far ahead of runner-up Cynthia Valadez-Mata with 11%.
Flores will face Republican Robert Reynolds in November.
House District 52
As mentioned previously, the current District 52 seat holder Rep. James Talarico is aiming for the District 50 seat rather than seeking reelection. This opens the currently Democratic seat to possible Republican control.
District 52 covers parts of Williamson County including most of Round Rock, a portion of Georgetown and all of Taylor and Hutto.
Four candidates ran for the Republican nomination which will head to a runoff. The winner will face Democrat Luis Echegaray in November.
Caroline Harris describes herself on her campaign website as “a proven conservative dedicated to serving Texans.” She received a master’s degree in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin. She worked as a policy advisor for the Texas Senate and is a Sunday School teacher and member of the Missions Board of her church. According to her website, her political platform includes increasing border security, promoting pro-life legislation, passing election reform to make “it easy to vote and hard to cheat in our elections” and protecting American values.
Nelson Jarrin describes himself on his campaign website as “a husband, father, community leader (and) lifelong Republican.” He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School in Indiana. From 2013 to 2015, he was the legislative director and general counsel for Senator Charles Schwertner. He also worked as an attorney at the Texas Legislative Council. According to his website, his political platform includes “straight talk,” supporting law enforcement agencies, “ending the Biden border crisis,” securing elections, ensuring “quality education, not indoctrination,” lowering property taxes, opposing vaccine mandates, “protecting life,” supporting the second amendment, and making sure the state is “living within our means.”
Patrick McGuinness describes himself on his campaign website as “an engineer, entrepreneur, family man, Republican party activist and a community leader.” He received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. He has worked as a precinct chair on county GOP committees and the vice-chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. According to his website, his political platform includes securing the border, ending vaccine mandates, securing elections, “empower(ing) parents and fight(ing) leftist indoctrination” in education, reducing property taxes and limiting spending, protecting “the rights of the pre-born and our most vulnerable,” supporting the second amendment, banning taxpayer-funded lobbying and opposing tax abatements for solar and wind energy.
Jonathan Schober describes himself on his campaign website as “a devoted family man who is tired of seeing the same ol’ politics.” After high school, he entered the United States Air Force Reserve and worked as an electro-environmental systems specialist at Bergstrom Air Force Base. Afterward, he worked as an executive at various companies. According to his website, his political platform includes “protect(ing) your right to medical freedom,” supporting “the full mobilization of the Texas Military Department and requir(ing) funding to secure the border,” expanding consumption tax to reduce property tax, supporting the second amendment, reforming the education system and “stand(ing) for the rights of pro-life individuals and the unborn.”
McGuinness had 35.12% (5,706) of the vote, Harris got 31.36% (5,095), Jarrin got 25.77% (4,187) and Schober got 7.75% (1,260).
House District 73
District 73’s new district lines have potentially opened the door for a new Republican candidate.
District 73 covers Comal County, Gillespie County and Kendall County.
The current seat holder, Kyle Biedermann, is not seeking reelection.
Three candidates ran for the Republican nomination including former New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel. The winner of the primary faces Democrat Justin Calhoun in November.
With 100% of votes counted, KXAN projected around 11:45 p.m. that Casteel and Carrie Isaac will advance to a runoff in the Republican primary for Texas House District 73. Casteel got 45.63% (12,966), Isaac got 44.78% (12,725) and Green got 9.59% (2,726).
Casteel describes himself on his campaign website as “a successful business owner…(who) earned a reputation as a taxpayer champion by implementing conservative policies to cut waste and increase efficiencies allowing the city to lower taxes for residents.” According to his website, his political platform includes working “against the socialist woke mobs who want to implement critical race theory in our schools, defund the police, open our borders, and take away our freedoms to make decisions for ourselves (and fighting) to protect our family values, lower taxes and secure our border.”
George Green describes himself on his campaign website as a “native-born Texan” who “learned early on the value of hard work, service and faith in God.” He was a member of the military as a part of the Army Airborne Infantry. He worked as a teacher and a New Braunfels City Councilman. His political priorities as listed on his website are to “(be) constituent driven, stand with police, stop all voter fraud, better infrastructure and power grid, grow our economy, defend small business, protect our water rights, stop radical classroom indoctrination, cut wasteful spending, stop government overreach, (protect the) second amendment (and support) pro-life (legislation).”
Carrie Isaac describes herself on her campaign website as “a fourth-generation Texan, nonprofit leader, wife and mother who will give our values a powerful voice in the Texas Capitol.” She ran in neighboring District 45 last election but lost to Erin Zwiener, a Democrat, by approximately 1% of the vote. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Purdue University Global e-Diploma in public health education and promotion. According to her website, her political platform includes “fight(ing) Biden’s socialist agenda, secur(ing) the border and keep(ing) communities safe, cut(ting) our property taxes, uphold(ing) American values, protect(ing) unborn life, endur(ing) a quality education, protect(ing) the hill county and protect(ing) our unalienable rights.”
House District 136
The Democratic nomination is all but decided for District 136 as the Democratic incumbent, John Bucy III, is currently unopposed for his party’s nomination. The Republican nomination is not as simple, though.
The district covers a large section of Williamson County including almost all of Cedar Park, Jollyville CDP and Leander and the entirety of Brushy Creek CDP.
Two Republican candidates ran for the nomination. KXAN projected Michelle Evans will win the Republican Primary for Texas House District 136. She had 83.76% (6,396) of the vote while her opponent received 16.24% (1,240).
Michelle Evans describes herself on her campaign website as “a married mother of three, fitness coach, small business owner and fierce advocate for families.” She received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin. She’s worked for a non-profit outreach for children on probation and parole. She’s also worked for Lutheran Social Services as a case manager, adoption coordinator and eventually the director of their non-secure detention program for juveniles. According to her website, her political platform includes shifting the public school curriculum towards more fundamental elements of education such as math and reading, opposing efforts to defund the police, addressing and reducing human trafficking, eliminating property taxes, opposing vaccine mandates, strengthening the power grid, supporting the second amendment and the “right to life,” increasing border security and more.
Amin Salahuddin describes himself on his campaign website as “an innovative leader… known in the community for having a kind heart (and) always willing to serve his neighbors in the community.” He was a founder of Eixsys Healthcare System, a board member for the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Round Rock Police Foundation and the founder and president of Diversity Impact. According to his website, his political platform includes promoting innovation in healthcare, improving public schools, supporting small businesses, keeping taxes low, opposing the defunding of the police and maintaining transportation infrastructure.