Dallas County's Democratic Primary Runoff, 2014 Edition

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On May 27th the Primary Election Season will come to a close.  

While the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns are firmly underway, there are a few Primary races still in contention.  In this article, I am focusing on just the Democratic Primary races that are ongoing in Dallas County.

Below the jump, catch up on run-offs for the Legislature, Justice of the Peace, and Constable here in Dallas.

State Representative, District 105

State House District 105 covers mostly Irving and parts of Grand Prairie.  It has long been held by Representative Linda Harper-Brown, a former Irving City Councilwoman.  The district itself has long been a top tier target by Democrats after Bob Romano with an extremely low-budget campaign narrowly missed defeated Representative Harper-Brown in 2008 by 16 votes.  In a turn of events, Representative Harper-Brown was defeated this year in the Republican Primary by former State Representative Rodney Anderson.

In March, Susan Motley was just 68 votes shy of a 50% + 1 victory in a three way Primary race against Terry Meza and Bernice Montgomery.  Susan Motley and Terry Meza are now facing off against each other to determine who will face Rodney Anderson in the General Election.

Republican candidate Rodney Anderson was first elected to the State Legislature in 2010 when he defeated incumbent Democrat Kirk England for State House District 106.  Before redistricting in the following Legislative Session, District 106 covered Grand Prairie and southern Irving.  Linda Harper-Brown's defeat will make this State House District one to watch all the way until November.

Susan Motley: Susan Motley is a disability rights lawyer.  She is also a former member of the Irving Parks and Recreation Board and Irving Advisory Committee on Disabilities.  Susan was also awarded 2013 Committee Chair of the Year from the Dallas Bar Association for her service on the Pro Bono Activities Committee.  This is Susan Motley's first-time run for public office.

Terry Meza: Terry Meza is a former City of Arlington resident who made two unsuccessful attempts to run for Arlington City Council in 2009 (32% of vote) and 2011 (9% of vote).  She states on her website that her family is descended from the Farine family, one of the original families who helped found the City of Irving.  Terry works as an attorney, but has also worked as an instructor at North Lake College, which is part of the Dallas County Community College District.

Update 5/9/14 4:18 PM: Updated section to correct map error in regards to the 2010 boundary lines for District 106 and an issue with candidate residencies along with previous runs for public office.

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 5

Judge Etta Mullin was first elected to this office in 2010.  This is her first re-election, and she found herself facing two opponents in the Democratic Primary: Trey Bunch and Lisa Green.  In the March Primary, Judge Mullin came in 2nd place with 36.44% of the vote, while Lisa Green was able to achieve 44.27%.  

Etta Mullin: Etta Mullin was first elected in 2010 in the year that Democrats won all countywide elected offices and took control of the County Commissioner's Court.  While the campaign does not appear to have a website setup, mailers have touted endorsements from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, State Senator Royce West, and County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

Lisa Green: Lisa Green is a criminal lawyer working for Scottie D. Allen & Associates, and also worked for over 10 years in the Dallas County Public Defender's Office.

District Clerk

Last year, incumbent District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons made it known that he was not going to be seeking re-election.  This open seat election created one of the most crowded elections on the Primary ballot with a total of 6 candidates: Tarsha Hardy, Cathy Sanchez, Rose Renfroe, Johnny Gomez, Kissi Jones, and Felicia Pitre.  Gary Fitzsimmons quickly endorsed Felicia Pitre as his chosen successor.  After the dust settled in March, the two highest vote getters were Tarsha Hardy and Felicia Pitre.  

Tarsha Hardy is the current Vice Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, and is also seeking re-election to this post as well as Dallas County District Clerk.  Tarsha has previously worked for the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Union.

Felicia Pitre works as a manager within the District Clerk's office.  She has also received the endorsement of many elected officials ranging from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Senator Royce West, Commissioners Elba Garcia, Theresa Daniel, and John Wiley Price, as well as many others.

County Treasurer

Earlier this year, incumbent County Treasurer Joe Wells announced that he was not going to run for another term.  This created a four-way race between former Dallas City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, long-time SDEC member David Bradley, Bennie Brown, and Paul Ingram.  Pauline Medrano and Bennie Brown were the two highest vote getters.

Pauline Medrano just finished serving 8 years on the Dallas City Council, and is no stranger to election campaigns.  She has maintained a solid list of endorsements, including that of her former Primary opponent David Bradley.

In 2010, Bennie Brown attempted to run against County Commissioner John Wiley Price.  She, along with 2 other challengers, was thoroughly defeated by Commissioner Price.  Mrs. Brown received only 6.40% of the vote in a district that covered most of southern and southeastern Dallas County.

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 1

Place 1 and Place 2 for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4 were two Democratic victories in 2010 that greatly benefited from the increased Hispanic turnout resulting from Elba Garcia's campaign to oust Republican County Commissioner Ken Mayfield.  This helped remove the two Republican incumbents who were occupying these seats at the time.  Norris “Stretch” Riddeaux won this seat in 2010.  However, he found himself facing two challenges.  In the Democratic Primary, Judge Riddeaux received 41% of the vote.  The remaining percentage was almost evenly split between Ron Bivins (29.02%) and Mary Abeyta (29.17%).

Norris “Stretch” Rideaux: Norris “Stretch” Riddeaux is the current incumbent, and this is not the first time that he is facing off against Mary Abeyta.  In 2010, both of these candidates ran against each other in the Democratic Primary with Judge Riddeaux receiving 51% of the vote.

Mary Abeyta: Mary Abeyta ran for this seat in 2006, but was defeated by her Republican opponent in the General Election.  She also ran for the seat in 2010, but was defeated by the current incumbent in the Democratic Primary.

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2

As with Place 1, Place 2 of Precinct 4 for Justice of the Peace greatly benefited from the overlapping County Commissioner campaign.  This helped boost turnout and defeat the incumbent Republican in 2010.  Katy Hubener won this seat in 2010, but has found herself facing three challengers in the 2014 Democratic Primary.  Katy Hubener received 35% of the vote, while the second highest vote getter, Fred Jackson, received 32% of the vote.

Fred Jackson: Fred Jackson is a former police officer, and currently runs a web-based paralegal company.  He has also served as a Deputy Marshal, Deputy Constable, and SWAT team member.

Katy Hubener: Katy Hubener is a long-time Democratic activist in Dallas County, and often seen at multiple local Democratic Party functions.  In 2006, she narrowly lost her race against then-Republican State Representative Kirk England, who shortly after switched parties to become a Democrat.

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, Place 1

In 2010, Carlos Medrano beat incumbent Democrat Luis Sepulveda in the Democratic Primary to take the seat.  However, shortly after Carlos' win, he was embroiled in a legal case brought upon by Luis Sepulveda who had claimed voter fraud led to his defeat.  Carlos was convicted of illegally soliciting the vote of his niece.  County Judge Clay Jenkins appointed Sandra Ellis to replace Carlos for the remainder of the term.  Sandra Ellis was elected as a Republican to a Justice of the Peace seat in Richardson (North Dallas) in 2010, but lost her precinct shortly after due to redistricting.  District or no district, Dallas County was obligated to pay Judge Ellis the salary of her elected office through 2014.

Melissa Bellan: Melissa Bellan is a lawyer with experience in civil, family, and probate law.  She has performed extensive work with Dallas County Democratic Party, organized local Voter Protection Programs for the Democratic Party, and previously served as a temporary Justice of the Peace in Dallas County.

Sara Martinez: Sara Martinez is a lawyer who has worked in both criminal and family law, and has also worked as a public defender for Dallas County.  Sara is also a board member of the Greater Dallas Legal and Community Development Foundation.

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I have performed work for the Melissa Bellan campaign, and am also being represented by Melissa Bellan in a ongoing case in Dallas County.

Constable, Precinct 5

In 2010, incumbent Democrat Jaime Cortez was running for re-election under a cloud of investigations regarding aggressive towing operations and alleged abuse of employees.  Beth Villarreal was able to successfully beat Jaime Cortez in the Democratic Primary, and has served as Constable for Precinct 5 since that time.  In May, 2010, Jaime Cortez resigned from office rather than serve the remainder of his term.  During this year's Democratic Primary, Constable Villarreal found herself facing off against 3 challengers for her seat: Susan Lopez Craig, Rick Lozano, and Michael Orozco.  Beth Villarreal received 39% of the vote with the second highest vote getter, Michael Orozco, received 22%.

Michael Orozco: Michael Orozco is a former United States Marine, has served as a Deputy Constable, and currently sells real estate within the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Beth Villarreal: Beth Villarreal is a former police officer, and served as a Deputy Constable before her election in 2010.  Constable Villarreal has also received a number of endorsements from elected officials, such as Congressman Marc Veasey, State Representatives Roberto Alonzo and Rafael Anchia, and County Commissioner Theresa Daniel.


About Author

I have been working in the Information Technology field since 1995, and have worked for dotcom startups, Fortune 500 companies, and non-profit institutions. I specialize in database technology, application development, system integration, and their underlying processes to ensure integrity of stored data and hosting systems. I first became politically active in 2008, and was surprised by the dearth of experienced IT professionals that work with political candidates and campaigns on a professional or volunteer basis.

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