Tomorrow's elections in Potter and Randall County may seem like any old election. However, there is a real significance about Tuesday's ballot.
When voters head to the polls tomorrow, multiple contests will be contested locally and statewide. There is an obvious importance regarding the statewide ballots of both parties. Democrats are likely going to nominate Beto O'Rourke for U.S. Senator, but the contest for governor pits nine contenders against each other. The field includes Houston businessman Andrew White, former Dallas sheriff Lupe Valdez, retired educator and 2016 Railroad Commission nominee Grady Yarbrough, Dallas clothier and bar owner Jeffrey Payne, former congressional contender Tom Wakely and several other lesser-known candidates.
A look at the Republican ballot also reveals some interesting matchups statewide with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick seeking re-election against education advocate Scott Milder, George P. Bush fighting three opponents for a second nomination as Land Commissioner and Sid Miller facing Austin lobbyist Trey Blocker in his re-election race for Agriculture Commissioner. Senator Ted Cruz is also facing several relatively little-known opponents and Governor Greg Abbott faces a similar field.
The races that are perhaps even more important, however, are the contests located further down the ballot.
In Potter County, Republican voters will be electing three new judges, as three long-time incumbents are vacating their spots. Randall County also has a vacated spot, as Judge Ronnie Walker is retiring from the Randall County Court at Law #2 bench, opening it up for the first time since its creation. Republicans in Randall County will be choosing a county chair between incumbent Terry Harman and realtor Jinger White and Democrats in Potter County have a similar race between incumbent chairman Gentry Powell and long-time Democratic supporter Steve Land.
Let's not forget about the State Legislature races either. Incumbent Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) is seeking re-election against former Midland mayor Mike Canon and Amarillo restaurant owner Victor Leal. State Representative Four Price (R-Amarillo) is also seeking re-election against Drew Brassfield, the city manager and former interim police chief of Fritch.
There are also other dynamics at play where names will not be appearing on the ballot. Will voters allow Amarillo Matters to buy another round of elections? Will out-of-district funds benefit any of the candidates seeking local legislative offices? Will incumbents succeed in their hellacious bids for re-election?
Amarillo voters have the ability to change the judicial landscape of Amarillo for several years and to update their representation in Austin and at the county level in Tuesday's contests. These races alone would make a trip to the polls well worth it.
Voters have some important choices to make on Tuesday and we are looking forward to seeing your picks. Please remember, be educated, be informed, and please vote on Tuesday, March 6th!
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief