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Two incumbents face Republican challengers

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Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:00 pm

County Judge Richard Evans has drawn a Republican Party opponent as he seeks renomination to what would be his 23rd year in office, and Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Mike Towers will face two opponents for the Republican nomination to that post, filings with the county’s elections administrator shows.

In addition, the decision by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Eino Zapata not to run again has drawn four candidates to that race.

Those were among the key findings as the filing deadline for places on the party primary ballots passed on Monday, Dec. 11.

Races for a variety of county positions are likely to be decided by what happens in the Republican Primary scheduled for March 6, since no Democratic candidates filed for the county offices by the deadline.

Independent party candidates file with a different office than the elections administrator.  Those filings were not obtained before The Bandera Bulletin went to press.

All four of the county’s justices of the peace will be up for election next year, but the incumbents in Precinct 2, Bobbie Jo Basinger, and Precinct 4, Lynn Holt, did not draw opponents.

Two county commissioners also are up for reelection in 2018, but neither drew an opponent in the Republican Primary.

Those two are Bobby Harris in Precinct 2 and Jordan Rutherford in Precinct 4.

In addition, the Bandera County Clerk, Bandera County Treasurer and the District Clerk will be elected next year.

Each post drew only one candidate in the Republican Primary, but two of those posts will be filled by a new officeholder since the incumbent for county clerk, Candy Wheeler, and for county treasurer, Terry Wheeler, are retiring next year.

District Clerk Tammy Kneuper is not retiring.  She was the only candidate, Democrat or Republican, to file for that office.

The lone candidates for the Republican nomination to both the county clerk and the county treasurer’s office currently work in those offices.

Tandie Mansfield is on the Republican ballot for the county clerk’s post, while Beverly Schmidt is seeking the Republican nomination as county treasurer.

In the contested Republican races next year, Dennis Fitzgerald filed to run against Evans for the Republican nod as county judge, while Jim Goldsmith and Scott Sharp will compete against Towers for the Precinct 1 JP nomination.

The crowded race for the Precinct 3 JP nomination includes four Republicans, Randy Boysen, Misty L. Frantzen, Lisa Knight and Mike Murehead.

While still early in the election season, several of, the candidates appeared at a candidate forum held on Thursday, Dec. 7, by the Bandera County Republican Women.

Fitzgerald, who was a municipal judge in Cedar Park in the early 1980s and ran unsuccessfully for the Precinct 1 JP nomination four years ago, said he felt Judge Evans had done a fine job during his terms in office but believed that “a fresh set of eyes” watching county operations could produce benefits.

He said after the meeting that he feels any elected official who spends as long in office as Evans has start showing less attention to the needs of constituents.  Fitzgerald also said more support for small businesses is needed in the county.

Evans said he still enjoys working as county judge and feels proud that the county currently is in good shape.  He said he is running again to see that it stays that way.

In an interview after the meeting, the judge said his opponent is entitled to his opinion about the drawbacks of a long tenure in office, but Evans believes he continues to be responsive to constituents and wants to provide strong leadership for the future of the county.  As a former small businessman himself, Evans said he understands the difficulties that sector faces and wants to help.

Judge Towers said he has learned a lot about the JP position in his three years in office and considers the JP position as being akin to the “people’s court.”

Neither of Towers opponents spoke at the Republican Women’s meeting.

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