Monday, January 1, 2018

Collin County 2018 Primary Ballot

Early voting for the Tuesday, March 6, 2018 Democratic and Republican primary elections will begin on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 and run through Friday, March 2, 2018. All of Texas' state executive officers and state representatives, and half of the state senators will be up for election, as well as a United States Senate seat, and all of Texas' thirty-six seats in the United States House of Representatives. A number of county level offices will also be on 2018 ballots.
March 6, 2018 Primary Election Information
Additional Election Information
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In the final weeks of 2017, voters in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama turned out in record numbers for off-year and special elections that, perhaps, forecast the mood of voters nationwide for 2018 midterm elections. Voters in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama altered the United States Senate. Lone Star State Democrats and Republicans will next test the mood of voters with the earliest primary election in the nation. Only one other state, Illinois, holds a primary in March, two weeks after Texas' primary.

Texas Democrats will decide who will carry the Democratic party's banner into the battle for governor and a record number of other congressional, statewide and legislative, and county offices in the nation's biggest GOP stronghold. Texas has 10 Democrats running to determine who will take on Gov. Greg Abbott, who himself faces minor opposition from two Republicans in the GOP primary. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the son of former Gov. Mark White, are two of the best known names in the race for Democrats.

At the federal level, Democrats have the opportunity to remake the state's Congressional delegation with 8 open congressional seats up for grabs, even though most are in districts heavily gerrymandered to favor Republicans.  Democrats are running in all 36 of Texas' U.S. House races, for the first time in 25 years. One of the most watched races in Texas will be for the U.S. Senate where Ted Cruz faces his first re-election test since his stunning 2012 victory against Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. Four lesser known Republicans are running against Cruz in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, El Paso Democrat Beto O'Rourke first needs to get through a primary with two other Democrats to get to his highly anticipated battle with Cruz.
Many races up and down Democratic and Republican primary ballots across Texas have multiple Democrats and multiple Republicans running against each other. At least one, and often two or more, Democrats are running for 133 of the state's 150 House of Representatives seats and 14 of the state's 15 state Senate seats.

More than 346 Young Democratic Texans have filed to represent Texans in county courts, county parties, the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, and U.S. Congress. Of the more than 346 Young Democrats running: 36 are running for Congress, 55 are running for the Texas House of Representatives, 5 are running for the Texas Senate, and Many other offices up and down the democratic ticket. Young Democrats are poised to run the largest youth targeted voter turnout plan for 2018. We know that young voters are more progressive and will soon be the largest voting block- we’re prepared to get folks voting now, not later.

Most of the races with 3 or more Democrats running for the same office are likely to go to a runoff election on May 22nd, when no candidate gets above 50 percent of the vote.

What the turnout looks like in the Texas primary will tell a lot about what lies ahead for Republicans and Democrats in Texas and the nation in 2018. If there is big Democratic voter turnout — traditionally low in Texas gubernatorial cycles — it could signal that the higher than expected turnout among those Democratic voter cohorts for Doug Jones in Alabama’s special election to fill that state’s open U.S. Senate seat is in fact a developing trend nationally that could have significant impact on the November election.

Similarly, primary turnout among suburban white men and women, with and without college degrees, who helped elect Donald Trump in 2016, will tell Republicans, and Democrats, much. If those traditional Republican voters turnout in numbers for the the primary, it signals they will likely turnout again in November to help Republicans comfortably carry that Election Day. But if those Republicans don’t turnout, Republicans on November ballots face an usually tough midterm year, not just in Texas, but nationwide.

For the 2016 primary election, Collin County had 501,000 registered voters. Registrations increased to 540,000 for the November 2016 election. Projecting from historic averages, Collin County will likely have about 560K registered voters for the 2018 primary election and 585K registered voters for the Nov. 2016 election.

High Democratic voter enthusiasm this year, combined with higher voter registration numbers and Democratic primary ballots packed with candidates,  will likely drive record turnout numbers for the Democratic Party of Collin County's 2018 midterm primary election. With the exception of the 2008 Primary election, Republican Primary Election turnout has far outpaced Democratic Primary turnout in Collin County for the past quarter century.

But Democratic Primary turnout this year could well approach Republican turnout numbers of past midterm elections. Republican Primary turnout for the last midterm election in 2014 generated 46,459 Republican ballots cast. That's compared to 9,584 Democratic ballots cast in the Democratic Primary that year.

Total primary election turnout could top 80,000 with about 40,000 ballots cast by Republicans and an equal number of ballots cast by Democrats - and it could be more. That would equal or exceed the 40,185 ballots cast by Democrats in the 2016 Presidential Primary Election.
My assumption is this is a Democratic wave year. Wave elections have that special designation because like a tsunami swamps land they swamp voting trends set by past elections. Like a tsunami, they are driven by energy generated from a major seismic event in national politics. This year, Trump is that seismic event. We can’t look at Collin in isolation.

Exceptionally high Dem turnout and lower GOP turnout for all the 2017 special and uniform elections around the US suggests 2018 is a Dem wave year.

Consider 2010 GOP wave election turnout in context to prior midterm elections. GOP Primary turnout that year was more than triple prior midterm years. 2010 GOP turnout was even higher than 2008 GOP primary turnout. GOP turnout jumped an energy state in that wave year.

Consider too Collin’s jump in registered voters since the 2014 midterm. The registration count for the Nov 2017 Election was 540K - and that was after the county purged 40k registration records preparing for the 2018 Registration Card mailing. I think the registered voter count will increase to 560K before the Feb 5th cutoff date. (Our 2014 primary registration count was a lackluster 435K.) Our registration count on Feb 5th and last minute registration application activity during January will be predictive of turnout too.

Total primary turnout of 15 percent lines up with the last few primary years, including the 2010 GOP wave year. I think that is reasonable, and perhaps low in context of election turnout trends through 2017. Turnout of 15 percent pegs our total primary turnout at 84K ballots cast. I’ll be shocked of that skews mostly to GOP ballots cast.

And, more Dem candidates are on primary ballots for more offices in Collin, and across TX, than any time in nearly a generation. If all those candidates are actually out campaigning and canvassing voters to GOTV, (like Republican tea party activist did in Collin 2010 like republicans never had before) that will add to Dem turnout enthusiasm already generated by the Trump effect.

I think GOP turnout enthusiasm will be generally down this year, as it was through all the 2017 elections. And, I think Dem Primary turnout will at least equal 2016 Primary turnout, just as 2010 GOP wave Primary turnout more than equaled 2008 Primary turnout.
There isn’t much time for candidates on primary ballots to gain name recognition  —  early voting starts on Tuesday Feb. 20th. Half or more of in person voters cast their ballots during early voting in Collin County and other suburban counties around the state. Thousands of senior Texans and Texans in the military and overseas, will begin marking their absentee mail ballots by mid-January. Military and overseas ballots must be out by Jan. 20th according to the Texas Secretary of State's election calendar.

Offices on the 2018 primary ballot in Collin County

--------------------- Office Sought --------------------- --- Candidate Name --- Party --------- -------
Office Sought Candidate Name Party
U. S. Senator Beto O'Rourke (D)
U. S. Senator Edward Kimbrough (D) website email
U. S. Senator Sema Hernandez (D) email
U. S. Senator Geraldine Sam (R)
U. S. Senator Mary Miller (R)
U. S. Senator Bruce Jacobson, Jr. (R)
U. S. Senator Stefano de Stefano (R)
U. S. Senator Ted Cruz * (R)
U. S. Representative District 3 (Open) Adam P. Bell (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 3 (Open) Lorie Burch (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 3 (Open) Medrick Yhap (D) email
U. S. Representative District 3 (Open) Sam Johnson (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 3 (Open) Alex Donkervoet (R)
U. S. Representative District 3 (Open) David Niederkorn (R)
. S. Representative District 3 (Open) Van Taylor (R)
U. S. Representative District 4 Catherine Krantz (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 4 Lander Bethel (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 4 John Cooper (R)
U. S. Representative District 4 John Ratcliffe * (R)
U. S. Representative District 32 Brett Shipp (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 32 Colin Allred (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 32 Ed Meier (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 32 George Rodriguez (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 32 Lillian Salerno (D) website email
U. S. Representative District 32 Ron Marshall (D) email
U. S. Representative District 32 Todd Maternowski (D) email
U. S. Representative District 32 Paul Brown (R)
U. S. Representative District 32 Pete Sessions * (R)
Governor Adrian Ocegueda (D) website email
Governor Andrew White (D) website email
Governor Cedric Davis, Sr. (D) email
Governor Demetria Smith (D) email
Governor Grady Yarbrough (D) email
Governor James Jolly Clark (D)
Governor Jeffrey Payne (D) website email
Governor Joe Mumbach (D)
Governor Lupe Valdez (D) website email
Governor Tom Wakely (D) website email
Governor Barbara Krueger (R)
Governor Greg Abbott * (R)
Governor SECEDE Kilgore (R)
Lieutenant Governor Mike Collier (D) website email
Lieutenant Governor Michael Cooper (D) website email
Lieutenant Governor Scott Milder (R)
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick * (R)
Attorney General Justin Nelson (D) website email
Attorney General Ken Paxton * (R)
Comptroller of Public Accounts Joi Chevalier (D) website email
Comptroller of Public Accounts Tim Mahoney (D) website email
Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar * (R)
Commissioner of the General Land Office Miguel Suazo (D) website email
Commissioner of the General Land Office Tex Morgan (D)
Commissioner of the General Land Office Davey Edwards (R)
Commissioner of the General Land Office George P. Bush * (R)
Commissioner of the General Land Office Jerry Patterson (R)
Commissioner of the General Land Office Rick Range (R)
Commissioner of Agriculture Kim Olson (D) website email
Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Hogan (R)
Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller * (R)
Commissioner of Agriculture Trey Blocker (R)
Railroad Commissioner Chris Spellmon (D) website email
Railroad Commissioner Roman McAllen (D) email
Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick * (R)
Railroad Commissioner Weston Martinez (R)
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2 (Open) Steven Kirkland (D) website email
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2 (Open) Jimmy Blacklock (R)
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 4 R.K. Sandill (D) website email
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 4 John Devine * (R)
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 6 Kathy Cheng (D) website email
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 6 Jeff Brown * (R)
Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Maria T. (Terri) Jackson (D) email
Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals David Bridges (R)
Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Sharon Keller * (R)
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 7 Ramona Franklin (D) email
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 7 Barbara Parker Hervey* (R)
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8 (Open) Dib Waldrip (R)
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8 (Open) Jay Brandon (R)
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8 (Open) Michelle Slaughter (R)
State Board of Education, District 12 (Open) Laura Malone-Miller (D) email
State Board of Education, District 12 (Open) Linda Parsel (D) email
State Board of Education, District 12 (Open) Suzanne Smith (D) website email
State Board of Education, District 12 (Open) Tina Green (D)
State Board of Education, District 12 (Open) Pam Little (R)
State Senator, District 8 (Open) Brian Chaput (D) website email
State Senator, District 8 (Open) Mark Phariss (D) email
State Senator, District 8 (Open) Angela Paxton (R)
State Senator, District 8 (Open) Phillip Huffines (R)
State Senator, District 30 Kevin Lopez (D)
State Senator, District 30 Craig Carter (R)
State Senator, District 30 Craig Estes * (R)
State Senator, District 30 Pat Fallon (R)
State Representative District 33 Laura Gunn (D) website email
State Representative District 33 Justin Holland * (R)
State Representative District 66 Sharon Hirsch (D) website email
State Representative District 66 Matt Shaheen * (R)
State Representative District 67 Sarah Depew (D) website email
State Representative District 67 Jeff Leach * (R)
State Representative District 70 Julie Luton (D) website email
State Representative District 70 Scott Sanford * (R)
State Representative District 89 (Open) Ray Ash (D) email
State Representative District 89 (Open) Candy Noble (R)
State Representative District 89 (Open) John Payton (R)
Chief Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District (Open) Robert Burns (D)
Chief Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District (Open) Douglas S. Lang (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 2 Robbie Partida-Kipness (D)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 2 David Evans * (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 5 Erin Nowell (D) email
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 5 Craig Stoddart * (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 9 Bill Pedersen (D) website email
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 9 Jason Boatright * (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 10 Amanda Reichek (D) website email
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 10 Molly Francis * (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 11 (Open) Cory Carlyle (D)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 11 (Open) Dan Wyde (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 11 (Open) John Browning (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 11 (Open) Tom Nowak (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 12 (Open) Ken Molberg (D) email
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 12 (Open) Jim Pikl (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 12 (Open) Perry Cockerell (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 12 (Open) William "Randy" Johnson (R)
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 13 Leslie Lester Osborne (D) website email
Justice, 5th Court of Appeals District, Place 13 Elizabeth Lang Miers * (R)
District Judge, 219th Judicial District Glenn Brenner (R)
District Judge, 219th Judicial District Jennifer Edgeworth (R)
District Judge, 219th Judicial District Mike Curran (R)
District Judge, 219th Judicial District Scott Becker * (R)
District Judge, 296th Judicial District John R. Roach, Jr. * (R)
District Judge, 366th Judicial District Ray Wheless * (R)
District Judge, 417th Judicial District Cyndi McCrann Wheless * (R)
District Judge, 429th Judicial District Jill Willis * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.1 Corinne Mason * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.2 Barnett Walker * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.3 Lance S. Baxter * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.4 David Rippel * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.5 Dan K. Wilson * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.6 Jay Bender * (R)
Judge, County Court-at-Law No.7 David Waddill * (R)
Judge, County Court at Law and Probate Court Weldon Stone Copeland * (R)
Criminal District Attorney Collin County Casey Davis (R)
Criminal District Attorney Collin County Greg Willis * (R)
District Clerk Karmin Kirschner (D) email
District Clerk Lynne Finley * (R)
County Clerk David Chevalier (D) email
County Clerk Stacey Kemp * (R)
County Judge (Open Seat) Danyell Lanier (D) email
County Judge (Open Seat) Chris Hill (R)
County Judge (Open Seat) Ray Ricchi (R)
County Judge (Open Seat) Scott Johnson (R)
County Commissioner Pct.2 Tanner Do (D) email
County Commissioner Pct.2 Cheryl Williams * (R)
County Commissioner Pct.2 Joey Herald (R)
County Commissioner Pct.3 (unexpired term) David Azad (D) email
County Commissioner Pct.3 Darrell Hale (R)
County Commissioner Pct.3 Dr. Briana Andor (R)
County Commissioner Pct.4 Byron Bradford (D) email
County Commissioner Pct.4 Duncan Webb * (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.1 Misty Irby (D) email
Justice of the Peace Pct.1 Paul Raleeh * (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.2 Dian Engelman (D) email
Justice of the Peace Pct.2 Jeff Graham (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.2 Jerry Shaffer * (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.2 Mike McCandless (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.3 Place.2 (Open) Ramona Brumfield (D) email
Justice of the Peace Pct.3 Place.2 (Open) Melvin Thathiah (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.3 Place.2 (Open) Mike Missildine (R)
Justice of the Peace Pct.4 Carissa Picard (D) email
Justice of the Peace Pct.4 W. M. "Mike" Yarbrough * (R)
Democratic Party of Collin Co. Chair Mike Rawlins * (D)
Democratic Party of Collin Co. Chair Stirling Morris (D)
Democratic Party of Collin Co. Chair Kunal Kapai (D)
Republican Party of Collin Co. Chair George Flint * (R)

2018 Democratic Primary Ballot Propositions
  1. Right to a 21st Century Public Education: Should everyone in Texas have the right to quality public education from pre-k to 12th grade, and affordable college and career training without the burden of crushing student loan debt?
  2. Student Loan Debt: Should everyone in Texas have the right to refinance student loan debt with the Federal Reserve at a 0% interest rate, as relief for the crushing burden of debt and an investment in the next generation of Americans?
  3. Right to Healthcare: Should everyone in Texas have a right to healthcare, guaranteed by a universal, quality Medicare-for-all system?
  4. Right to Economic Security: Should everyone in Texas have the right to economic security, where all workers have earned paid family and sick leave and a living wage that respects their hard work?
  5. National Jobs Program: Should the Democratic Party promote a national jobs program, with high wage and labor standards, to replace crumbling infrastructure and rebuild hurricane damaged areas, paid for with local, state, and federal bonds financed through the Federal Reserve at low interest with long term maturities?
  6. Right to Clean Air, Safe Water, and a Healthy Environment: Should everyone in Texas have the right to clean air, safe water, and a healthy environment?
  7. Right to Dignity & Respect: Should everyone in Texas have the right to a life of dignity and respect, free from discrimination and harassment anywhere, including businesses and public facilities, no matter how they identify, the color of their skin, who they love, socioeconomic status, or from where they come?
  8. Right to Housing: Should everyone in Texas have the right to affordable and accessible housing and modern utilities including high speed internet, free from any form of discrimination?
  9. Right to Vote: Should every eligible Texan have the right to vote, made easier by automatic voter registration, the option to vote by mail, a state election holiday, and no corporate campaign influence, foreign interference, or illegal gerrymandering?
  10. Right to a Fair Criminal Justice System: Should everyone in Texas have the right to a fair criminal justice system that treats people equally and puts an end to the mass incarceration of young people of color for minor offenses?
  11. Immigrant Rights: Should there be a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes an earned path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants and their children, keeps families together, protects DREAMers, and provides workforce solutions for businesses?
  12. Right to Fair Taxation: Should everyone in Texas have the right to a fair tax system, where all interests (business, corporations, and individuals) pay their share, so that state government meets its obligations?

All 150 State House seats are up for election in 2018. Texas state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years. Republicans have controlled the House since 2002. As of December 2016, the Republican Party holds a majority 99 seats to 50 seats for Democrats and 1 seat held by an Independent in the Texas House of Representatives:

State House of Representatives Districts

The house district club concept can be applied to any election district division - Senate District, Congressional District, Commissioner District, Court of Appeals District, etc.

A total of 15 seats out of the State Senate chamber's 31 seats are up for election in 2018, including Collin County's Districts 8 and 30 incumbent Republicans. Texas state senators serve 2-4-4 terms, where senators serve one two-year term and two four-year terms each decade. Republicans have maintained control of the Senate since 1996. Since 2002, the GOP has kept their majority steady at around a 7-seat advantage. As of December 2016, the Republican Party holds 20 senate seats to 11 seats for Democrats. District 30 of the Texas Senate includes all of Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cooke, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise and Young counties, and portions of Collin and Denton counties. District 8 includes the southwest quadrant of Collin Co. and parts of northern Dallas Co.

State Senate Districts in Collin County

15 Seats of State Senate Up for Election

District Senator Party Residence Counties
District Senator Party Residence Counties
2 Bob Hall R Edgewood Dallas (part), Delta, Fannin, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Rains, Rockwall, Van Zandt
3 Robert Nichols R Jacksonville Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Hardin, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Montgomery (part), Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler
5 Charles Schwertner R Georgetown Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker, Williamson
7 Paul Bettencourt R Houston Harris (part)
8 Van Taylor R Plano Collin (part), Dallas (part)
9 Kelly Hancock R Fort Worth Dallas (part), Tarrant (part)
10 Konni Burton R Colleyville Tarrant (part)
14 Kirk Watson D Austin Bastrop, Travis (part)
15 John Whitmire D Houston Harris (part)
16 Don Huffines R Dallas Dallas (part)
17 Joan Huffman R Southside Place Brazoria (part), Fort Bend (part), Harris (part)
18 Lois Kolkhorst R Katy Aransas, Austin, Burleson, Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend (part), Goliad, Gonzales, Harris (part), Jackson, Lee, Matagorda, Nueces (part), Re fugio, Victoria, Waller, Washington
23 Royce West D Dallas Dallas (part)
25 Donna Campbell R New Braunfels Bexar (part), Travis (part), Comal, Hays, Kendall
30 Craig Estes R Wichita Falls Archer, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, Young
31 Kel Seliger R Amarillo Andrews, Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Cochran, Collingsworth, Coke, Coleman, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Gray, Hall, Hartley, Hemphill, Hansford, Howard, Hutchinson, Jones, Lipscomb, Loving, Lynn, Martin, Midland, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, Winkler, Yoakum

Precinct Chairs are party officials elected by voters of their respective precinct in Democratic Primary Elections scheduled on the first Tuesday of March in even numbered years.

A county precinct is the smallest political subdivision in Texas. Texas counties are divided into individual precincts based on voting eligable population census. Precincts can have as few as a few hundred registered voters to a maximum of 5,000 registered voters.

Precinct chairs file to have their name placed on primary ballots, just like every other person seeking election to public office. When only one person within a precinct files for a ballot position, their name is not placed on the ballot and they are considered automatically elected to hold that public office. The term of office is two years, beginning on the 20th day following the Primary runoff election. The county executive committee (CEC) may fill precinct chair vacancies between elections by majority vote appointment.

It is the responsibility of Precinct Chairs, who are public representatives of their party's precinct voters, to represent precinct residents and to mobilize them into an active base of voters for their party's candidates. Whether you are a Precinct Block Captain for your district waiting to win the vote against the incumbent Precinct Chair at primary election time, or an elected or appointed Precinct Chair you have the same duties:
  1. Get the Voter List for your Precinct.
  2. Visit everyone in the Precinct who is on the list (or assigned blocks if only a Block Captain) and make yourself known.
  3. Ascertain for which presidential and or gubernatorial candidate people last voted. If they are registered but never voted, ask two or three questions about their positions or views on issues such as jobs, public school funding, property taxes, Social Security, Medicare, prescription drug cost, school vouchers, conservative judges, fiscal attitude, etc. Build a database of district voters who will likely vote for Democrats.
  4. Start to meet all those NOT on the voter list to determine who will vote for Democrats.
  5. Add these to your database with notes. Try to define the Independents as to the issues. They might be amenable to voting for Democrats in the right circumstances.
  6. Stay in touch with all those who you have identified as with you on the crucial issues. You will want to add them the Facebook group.
  7. Appoint Block Captains of your own if you are already Precinct Chairman.
  8. Be prepared to walk the Precinct with the candidates toward election time.
  9. Attend all district group meetings.
  10. As the Party Primary season arrives (every two years) be prepared to work your contact lists to get out the vote.
  11. Learn the protocol for the party, county or senatorial district convention.
  12. Remember the SD/County Convention leads to State and National Conventions. Voting members of the Democratic National Committee and state executive committee - who set the party's agenda at the state and national levels - are elected by state convention delegates, who are themselves elected at SD/County conventions.
Precinct Chairs also sit on the County Executive Committee, which conducts the local business of the Party. The duties and responsibilities of Precinct Chairs provide fundamental services to party effectiveness.

County Party Chairpersons must also file to have their name placed on primary ballots. Their names always appear on ballots, even when unopposed. All partisan voters in the county vote for county Chair candidates.

Texas Courts of Appeal are distributed in fourteen districts around the state of Texas. Like the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, Justices of the Texas Courts of Appeals are elected to six-year terms by general election.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals includes one Chief Justice and twelve Justices. The 5th District Court of Appeals is one of our region's most important courts with jurisdiction over criminal, family and civil appeals cases for Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, Kaufman, Grayson and Hunt counties.

The Courts of Appeal have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases appealed from district or county courts. Like the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, Justices of the Texas Courts of Appeals are elected to six-year terms by general election.

Both civil and criminal appeals are typically heard by a panel of three justices, unless in a particular case an en banc hearing is ordered, in which instance all the justices of that Court hear and consider the case.

The unusually high number of 8 of the 5th district's 13 seats, including the Chief Justice's seat, are up for election in 2018.

Court of Appeals, Fifth District

Texas' 36 Congressional Districts have some peculiar designs. An analysis of them shows just how gerrymandered the state has become. (See an interactive map of the districts; read an analysis on the map here). Each Texas district has an estimated population of 698,488 people. However through a strategy called “packing-and-cracking,” redistricting packs Democratic voters into a few districts and dilutes the rest, leaving the GOP with a comfortable majority in the remaining areas. Sam Johnson's 3rd congressional district falls completely within Collin County. Texas' 4th Congressional District covers counties of the northeastern portion of the state, including Bowie, Camp, Cass, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Rains, Red River, Rockwall, and Titus counties, along with areas of Collin and Upshur counties. Texas' 32nd Congressional District includes portions of Dallas and Collin counties.

U.S. Congressional Districts

The Texas Constitution requires that each county in the State establish between one and eight Justice of the Peace precincts, depending upon the population of the county. Also, depending on the population of the precinct, either one or two justice of the peace courts are to be established in each precinct.

Justice of the peace courts have original jurisdiction in Class C misdemeanor criminal cases, which are less serious minor offenses. These courts also have jurisdiction over minor civil matters. A justice of the peace may issue search or arrest warrants, and may serve as the coroner in counties where there is no provision for a medical examiner. These courts also have jurisdiction over small claims matters.

Collin County Justices of the Peace Precincts PDF Map

The office of Criminal District Attorney is statutorily created by the legislature. A Criminal District Attorney is legally bound to handle all felony and misdemeanor criminal matters within the county and all civil matters related to representation of the county, county officials, as well as all associated matters.

The Texas Constitution provides for the office of County Attorney in each county. However, the legislature may abolish the office of County Attorney by establishing a Criminal District Attorney for such a county. The statutory duties of a Criminal District Attorney include the following:
  • Represent the State of Texas and victims of crimes in all criminal cases in the District Courts, County Courts-at-Law, and Justice Courts and in appeals therefrom.
  • Represent the best interests of our children in Child Protective Services cases.
  • Represent the victims of domestic abuse by obtaining protective orders against abusive family members.
  • Represent the State of Texas and victims of crimes in ensuring that justice is rendered for juveniles accused of criminal offenses.
  • Provide County Officials with written opinions or advice relating to the official duties of that official.
District Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. The geographical area served by each court is established by the Legislature, but each county must be served by at least one district court. In sparsely populated areas of the State, several counties may be served by a single district court, while an urban county may be served by many district courts.

District courts have original jurisdiction in felony criminal cases, divorce cases, cases involving title to land, election contest cases, civil matters in which the amount of money or damages involved is $200 or more, and any matters in which jurisdiction is not placed in another trial court. While most district courts try both criminal and civil cases, in the more densely populated counties the courts may specialize in civil, criminal, juvenile, or family law matters.

The District Clerk performs the duties assigned by the Texas Constitution as registrar, recorder, and custodian of all court pleadings, instruments, and papers that are part of any legal cause of action in the District Courts of Texas counties.

In performance of those duties, District Clerks indexes and secures all court records, collects filing fees, manages court registry funds, and handles funds held in litigation and money awarded to minors. The District Clerk also coordinates the jury panel selection process and may process passport applications.

The Texas Constitution vests broad judicial and administrative powers in the position of County Judge, who presides over a five-member Commissioner's Court. Four Commissioners, each elected to a commissioners precinct representing approximately a quarter of the county's population, serve with the Presiding County Judge on the Commissioners Court.
The County Judge is both presiding officer of the commissioners court (Tex. Const. Art. V, Sec. 18) and judge of the constitutional county court (Tex. Const. Art. V, Sec. 15). As such, the judge is often thought of as the chief executive officer of the county. The duties of the county judge vary depending on the population of the county. In most rural counties, the judge has broad judicial responsibilities and is often the principal source of information and assistance.

The judge's duties as presiding officer of the commissioners court includes carefully abiding by statutes requiring that meetings of governmental bodies be open to the public. Additional specific statutory charges are enumerated in the following: elections, finance, bonds and sureties, court operations, mental health, special districts, and general administration.
Members of the Collin County Commissioner's Court also serve as Trustees of the Collin County Health Care Foundation, Collin County Housing Finance Corporation, and the Collin County Substance Abuse Foundation.

In addition to assuring that county roads are maintained, commissioners vote with the county judge to set the budget for all county departments and adopt a tax rate. The County Commissioners Court also:
  • Sets the yearly property tax rate and approves the budget and employment level for the county;
  • Sets commissioners and justice of the peace precinct boundaries;
  • Calls, conducts and certifies elections, including bond elections;
  • Sets employment and benefit policy;
  • Establishes long-range thoroughfare, open space, land use, financial and law enforcement/jail needs plans;
  • Acquires property for rights-of-way or other uses determined to be in the public's best interest;
  • Reviews and approve subdivision platting and wastewater treatment for rural areas;
  • Provides rural ambulance services and subsidizes rural fire protection;
  • Oversees the construction, maintenance and improvement of county roads and bridges;
  • Appoints non-elected department heads and standing committees;
  • Supervises and controls the county courthouse, county buildings and facilities;
  • Adopts a county budget;
  • Determines county tax rates;
  • Fills vacancies in elective and appointive positions; and
  • Has exclusive authority to authorize contracts in the name of the county.
Your Collin County Commissioner's Court Precinct Number can be found on your Voter's Registration Certificate within the box titled "Com."

Collin County Commissioners Precincts PDF Map

The Legislature created statutory County Courts at Law in more populous counties to aid the constitutionally created single county court of each county in its judicial functions.
The Texas Constitution provides for one county court in each of the 254 counties of the state. In the more populous counties, where the legislature has created county courts at law, the county judge may devote his or her full attention to the administration of county government as the presiding member of the County Commissioner's Court.
The legal jurisdiction of the statutory county-level trial courts varies considerably and is established by the statute which creates the particular court. The jurisdiction of statutorily-created county courts at law may be concurrent with the jurisdiction of the single constitutional county courts and district courts in the county. The civil jurisdiction of most county courts at law varies but is usually more than that of the justice of the peace courts and less than that of the district courts. County courts have original jurisdiction over all criminal cases involving Class A and Class B misdemeanors, which are the more serious minor offenses. County courts usually have appellate jurisdiction in cases appealed from justice of the peace and municipal courts.

In more heavily populated counties, like Collin County, the Legislature created specialized Probate Courts to hear probate matters exclusively. Statutory probate courts are located in 10 of the state's 15 largest metropolitan areas and have original and exclusive jurisdiction over their counties' probate matters, guardianship cases, and mental health commitments.

The County Clerk is the clerk for county courts at law, including probate courts, and the commissioners court. The clerk is also the recorder for the county. All instruments filed for record are done so in the county clerk's office. The clerk carries out issues marriage licenses, maintains vital statistics, and may administer elections for the county where a separate office of county elections has not been created by the county commissioners.

County Clerk are custodians of records for the Commissioners Court, Constitutional County Court and Statutory County Courts. The clerk also acts as a recorder and custodian of important public records, including all bonds, deeds, marriage, birth and death certificates, assumed names and livestock brands, ensuring records are maintained in a secure, archival manner.

Other State Office Descriptions

The Office of Lieutenant Governor is part of the executive branch. The Lieutenant Governor serves as acting governor when the Governor is out of the state or incapacitated, and is the first in the line of succession should the Governor be unable to perform his or her duties.

The Lieutenant Governor's primary powers lie in the office's authority and influence in the legislature as President of the Texas Senate. The Lieutenant Governor serving as President of the Texas Senate appoints the committees of the Senate and assigns bills to specific Senate committees, a considerable power since committees generally control governmental policy legislation.

The Lieutenant Governor also casts the deciding vote in the Senate in case of a tie vote, and serves as chairman of the Legislative Budget Board and the Legislative Council. He or she is vice-chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee and the Legislative Education Board, and when the Legislative Redistricting Board convenes (if the legislature is unable to approve a redistricting plan for both houses), the Lieutenant Governor serves as one of the five members. These official roles, coupled with the legislative influence of the office, make the Texas Lieutenant Governorship significantly more powerful from Lieutenant Governors in most other states.

The Lieutenant Governor has exerted growing influence in lawmaking and in administration and public policy since World War II. This may result partly from two changes to the office over the course of the 20th century.

First, the length of the term of office was constitutionally extended from two to four years beginning with the election of 1974. Second, lieutenant governors have served ever more numerous terms since the 1890s. The increased longevity in office can significantly increase the informal influence and legislative expertise of lieutenant governors, and enables them to consolidate their control over the committees.

The Texas Attorney General (AG) is the chief lawyer for the state government and is elected to a four-year term. Unlike the office's counterpart at the national level, the Attorney General's legal role is primarily civil rather than criminal. Any time a suit is filed against or by the state, the AG's office handles the related legal activities.

Though candidates for Attorney General usually emphasize crime issues to bonify their law and order credentials when they campaign for office, most law enforcement and criminal matters are handled at the city and county level. The Attorney General's role is limited to providing support and advice to these officials and promoting public awareness on crime and safety issues. The Attorney General may also assist in a particular criminal case at the request of local prosecutors if the case involves a state interest.

The Attorney General can have a significant impact on public policy when he or she issues opinions on the legality or constitutionality of proposed or enacted laws or on the actions or policies of government agencies. Any state or local government office can request a legal opinion from the Attorney General, and the resulting opinion has the effect of law unless it is altered or overturned by the legislature or a court. Opinions thus have an impact on existing law and can become a powerful public platform for the Attorney General to further his or her political ambition. Many opinions, though, are largely technical and mundane.

The Attorney General can become involved in a wide range of high-profile public policy issues, which often puts the office in the public eye. Among the issues various office holders have promoted in recent years are environmental issues, health protection, civil rights, and consumer issues such as product safety, deceptive advertising, election fraud and commercial fraud protection. In most of these cases, action on particular issues reflected the priorities of specific officeholders.

Because the office also defends the state against suits, attorneys general are not able to choose all of their battles and can find themselves defending policies they would not otherwise choose to defend. Recent attorneys general have been involved in defending state law and policies on public school financing, Texas's method of selecting judges, the constitutionality of the state prison system, and state redistricting plans.

The Supreme Court of Texas is composed of a Chief Justice plus eight Justices and it is the court of last resort for civil matters in the State of Texas. The Supreme Court of Texas was first established in 1836 by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, which vested the judicial power of the Republic in “…one Supreme Court and such inferior courts as the Congress may establish.” The later Texas state Constitutions also established the Supreme Court as head of the judicial branch of Texas government.

A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters. The Justices of the Supreme Court are elected to staggered six-year terms in state-wide elections.

The Supreme Court has statewide appellate jurisdiction in most civil cases, which include contract, personal injury, family and juvenile cases. The Court’s jurisdiction is discretionary; that is, the Court decides what cases it will take. Parties do not have a right to have their cases fully heard by the Court. Instead, they petition the Court to review their cases. Only about 10% of the cases are granted review. The Supreme Court’s caseload consists of three primary categories:
  1. Determining whether to grant review of the final judgment of a court of appeals or certain interlocutory orders via a petition for review;
  2. Disposition of regular causes which include review of a final judgment, petitions for writs of mandamus or habeas corpus, certified questions, accepted parental notification appeals, and direct appeals;
  3. Disposition of numerous motions related to petitions and regular causes.
Members of the Texas Supreme Court are elected in partisan elections on a statewide basis for six-year terms of office. When a vacancy arises the Governor of Texas may appoint Justices, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve out the remainder of an unexpired term until the next general election. Anyone appointed to the Court must stand for election in the next general election after the appointment.

Five of the current Justices, a majority, have been appointed by Governor Rick Perry (R) and all the current Justices, like all the Judges of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, are members of the Republican party. All justices are elected to a "court place position" in state-wide general elections. Other than Place 1, which is reserved as the Chief Justice place position, the Supreme Court place numbers have no special significance.

To stand for election a person must be at least 35 years of age, a United States and Texas citizen, licensed to practice law in Texas, and must have practiced law at least 10 years. There are no other qualifications to be a justice — the rest is up to the voters of Texas, or in the case of a vacancy, the Governor.

By statute, the Texas Supreme Court has administrative control over the State Bar of Texas, an agency of the judiciary. The Texas Supreme Court also has the sole authority to license attorneys in Texas, and appoint members of the Board of Law Examiners, which under instructions of the Supreme Court, administers the Texas State Bar Examination. Administrative duties include:
  1. Promulgating the Rules of Civil Procedure for the Texas judicial system (Gov’t Code §22.004);
  2. Promulgating rules of administration for the Texas judicial system (Gov’t Code §72.024);
  3. Equalizing the dockets of the 14 courts of appeals (Gov’t Code §73.001);
  4. Promulgating the rules of procedure for the Commission on Judicial Conduct, and disciplining judges or removing judges from office (Gov’t Code, Ch. 33, art. V, sec.1-a);
  5. Supervising the operations of the State Bar of Texas and the rules and regulations for the admission, discipline, supervision, and disbarment of lawyers, and approving the law schools of the State (Gov’t Code, Ch. 81); and
  6. Promulgating the rules for the operation of the Court Reporters Certification Board and the disciplinary rules enforced by this Board (Gov’t Code §52.002).
Committees of lawyers and judges assist the court in reviewing, amending and developing rules of procedure and judicial administration — but the Court has final say on the rules. By overseeing the State Bar and ruling and disciplinary matters, the Court regulates the legal profession itself.

By statute, the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court has the responsibility to:
  1. Confer with the presiding judges of the administrative judicial regions to promote the prompt dispatch of judicial business (Gov’t Code §74.001);
  2. Assign judges between administrative judicial regions (Gov’t Code §74.057);
  3. Assign retired appellate justices to the various courts of appeals on a temporary basis (Gov’t Code §74.003);
  4. Deliver a “State of the Judiciary” message at the commencement of each regular session of the Legislature (Gov’t Code §21.004);
  5. Ensure that the Supreme Court executes and implements its administrative duties and responsibilities (Gov’t Code §74.006).
In practice, the Chief presides over the conferences of the nine justices to discuss cases pending before them. As part of the “administrative duties and responsibilities” the Chief traditionally plays the role of encouraging the other justices to work efficiently and keep up with the Court’s caseload.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last resort for all criminal matters in the State of Texas and is composed of a Presiding Judge and eight Judges.

The Presiding Judge and eight remaining Judges are elected to "court place positions" in staggered six-year terms by state-wide general election. The court place position has no special significance. The appeal of all cases in which the death penalty has been assessed go directly to the Court of Criminal Appeals from the trial courts. The appeals of all other criminal cases go to one of the fourteen Courts of Appeals in Texas, however, their decisions may also be reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

To stand for election a person must be at least 35 years of age, a United States and Texas citizen, licensed to practice law in Texas, and must have practiced law at least 10 years. When a vacancy arises the Governor of Texas may appoint Judges to the Court of Criminal Appeals, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve out the remainder of an unexpired term until the next general election. Like the Texas Supreme Court, the Judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals are currently all members of the Republican Party.

There are three individuals who serve together on the Texas Railroad Commission. Railroad Commissioners serve six year terms, with one commissioner seeking state wide election every two years, including this year. The Texas Railroad Commission is the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and surface coal and uranium mining.

As is suggested by its name, the Railroad Commission was initially created to regulate railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies within the state. Pipelines were added to the commission's jurisdiction in 1917, followed by the oil and gas industry in 1919 and gas utilities in 1920.

Effective October 1, 2005, the Railroad Commission of Texas no longer has regulatory authority over railroads, nor does it have jurisdiction over public utility companies.<

The General Land Office administers the use of all state-owned lands. This responsibility includes leasing for gas and oil production, mining, and grazing, and monitoring the environmental quality of public lands and waters. The office also operates the veterans' land program, in which state bonds are used to underwrite loans to military veterans for land purchases.

Nearly 12 percent of Texas, or about 32,000 square miles is state controlled public land. This land area is larger than the total land of South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. Unlike most western states, little more than 1 percent of Texas is public land. Managed by the General Land Office, most of the public land in Texas is in west Texas or submerged along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Valuable mineral leases on parts of this land generate money to support primary and secondary public schools and universities across Texas.

The Land Commissioner authorizes exploration and exploitation of public lands, so the Commissioner's decisions affect hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity. This also has a significant impact on state government and services, as the General Land Office generates hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties on oil and gas extracted from state lands. The Land Office has often come under criticism for doing too little to protect coastal areas of Texas.

As with similar offices in other states and the Federal Department of the Interior, the Texas Land Commissioner must reconcile the economic use of natural resources with environmental protection and conservation. State lands are a valuable source of revenue, particularly given that the state cannot draw on an income tax for revenue and that a significant share of oil and gas royalties are dedicated to public education. These issues are particularly acute in the coastal areas, where the state owns four million acres of submerged lands and all of the beaches. The General Land Office must balance the competing goals to both to exploit and preserve public lands.

Oil and gas production on state-owned lands has helped fund public education and keep taxes low. The economic activity generated by the energy sector has been key to fueling our economy. But it’s no secret Texas' oil and gas hey days are behind us and the state can rely solely on this a non-renewable asset to fund public education forever.

With over 20 million acres of state-owned land, much of it on the windy Gulf coast and in windy and sunny West Texas, the state should be a leader on renewable energy production, but it is not. Moving quickly into a 21st century renewable energy market would generate additional revenue produced on state lands from energy production, which in turn would help fund public education and keep taxes low. It would produce economic activity in communities across Texas, in both the manufacturing and construction sectors. It would provide jobs in some of the communities in Texas most in need of them. And transitioning away from a petrochemical economy into a renewable clean energy economy would help protect our environment.

The Texas General Land Office should aggressively take the lead on renewable energy development rather than continuing to focus exclusively on depleting non-renewable fossil energy reserves to fund public education.

The Christmas Mountains, in the heart of the Big Bend region of southwest Texas, were donated to the State of Texas in 1991. The foundation that gave the land to Texas stipulated that the Christmas Mountains were to remain public. The land should have been transferred to the National Park Service (NPS) and been made part of Big Bend National Park years ago. However, Republican Land Commissioners have blocked making the Christmas Mountain area a part of the Big Bend National Park. 

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