The fallout of U.S. Rep. Joe Barton’s decision to not seek re-election drew a rush of last-minute candidates eager for a shot at that seat as well as the for the Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector’s seat that also was vacated in the 11th hour.
Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright resigned his seat to join the pile on of 14 candidates who have filed to replace Barton, who backed out of his re-election plan on Nov. 30 when nude photos of him appeared online.
Rep. Joe Barton, 68, from Ennis outside Dallas who is Texas’ most-senior member of Congress, joined the group of retiring leaders after a sex scandal.
As former chief of staff for Barton, Wright said he had been waiting for an opportunity to run for the seat without challenging his former boss.
“No one could have anticipated what happened with Joe Barton,” said Wright, 64. “It all happened so quickly so now it’s going to be a sprint to the primary.”
The same day Barton announced his intention to abandon the race, Wright announced his plans to run for the 6th District seat that covers parts of Tarrant County and most of Ellis and Navarro counties. He also announced his resignation as tax assessor-collector, a position he was appointed to in 2011 to replace Betsy Price who resigned to run for mayor of Fort Worth.
Six candidates have filed to replace Wright, including former NBC 5 news anchorman Mike Snyder and Trasa Robertson Cobern, a Hurst City Council member and daughter of Duck Dynasty star Uncle Si.
Other candidates in that race are Olliephine Anderson, Wendy Burgess, Chris Nettles and Rick Barnes, who had filed to run for Tarrant County GOP chair but switched to the run for tax assessor-collector, according to his Facebook page. Anderson is the only Democrat on the ballot.
Tarrant County election officials said the list of filers for the March 6 primaries will not be fully updated until Wednesday.
Besides Wright, Republican candidates for the 6th District seat are Deborah Gagliardi and Kevin Harrison of Mansfield, J.K. “Jake” Ellzey of Midlothian, Ken Cope of Arlington, Mel Hassell of Dallas, Shawn Dandridge of Kennedale, Troy Ratteree of Burleson and Mark Mitchell of Fort Worth.
Democrats in the race are Jana Lynne Sanchez, John W. Duncan, Justin Snider, Levii R. Shocklee and Ruby Faye Woolridge, all of Arlington.
Filings for the upcoming contests indicate more Democrats are running in many local races.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a Republican, faces a challenge from former Texas Criminal Court of Appeals Judge Larry Meyers of Fort Worth, who is running as a Democrat.
In the race for State Senate District 9 seat, incumbent Kelly Hancock will face Democrat Gwenn Burud. In District 10, incumbent Konni Burton will face the winner of the Democratic primary contest between Beverly Powell and Allison Campolo.
Long-time incumbent Charlie Geren again faces a challenge from Bo French in the Republican primary for the State House District 99 seat. Geren is a top lieutenant of Texas House speaker Joe Straus, who is not seeking re-election. Democrat Michael Stackhouse is also running for the seat.
Two-party contests have developed in most races for local state representative seats.