March 5 Primary Election candidate filing comes to a close

Illustration by crowcrumbs.

TRI-COUNTY — Candidate filing for the March 5, 2024 Primary Election has come to a close with a number of candidates throwing their hat in the ring to take on local county government positions. 

Early voting for the March 5 Primary Election runs from February 20 to March 1, 2024. Successful party candidates proceed to the General Election in November 2024. Those elected will not assume office until January 2025 and will serve four-year terms. 

The Texas secretary of state’s office will not finalize candidates until December 19. For positions that did not receive any candidates, it is likely that counties will have to request letters of interest from the public and appoint individuals to the positions in order to fill vacancies. 

Below, The Big Bend Sentinel details a preliminary list of candidates below. Presidio County received only Democratic candidates while Jeff Davis County received only Republican candidates. Brewster County received both. 

Presidio County 

Democratic candidates

Candidates for the role of County Attorney include incumbent Rod Ponton and challenger attorney Blair Park. 

County Commissioner Precinct 1 candidates include Deirdre Hisler, a retired Texas Parks and Wildlife employee; Samuel Sánchez, who is self-employed; and Ruben Armendariz, the facilities director at Presidio ISD. The seat is currently held by Brenda Bentley who is not running for reelection.

County Commissioner Precinct 3 candidates include incumbent José Luis Cabezuela; Tiburcio Acosta, a store manager; Irma Carrasco, a teacher; and Frankie Ortiz, a truck driver.  

Law enforcement officials that filed for reelection include incumbent Sheriff Danny Dominguez and incumbent Constable Precinct 1 Esteban “Steve” Marquez. For the role of Constable Precinct 2, both incumbent Adan “Pugi” Covos and Rafael Bentley Acosta, who is retired, have filed.  

Nancy Arevalo, an accountant, and Norma Valenzuela, the Presidio County tax office deputy clerk, filed for the role of Tax Assessor-Collector, a role currently filled by Natalia Williams who is not seeking reelection

Ramon Rodriguez Aranda filed to continue in his role as Presidio County Democratic Party Chair, as did Presidio County Republican Party Chair Dan Dunlap. 

The Big Bend Sentinel will publish candidate questionnaires for Presidio County candidates in advance of the March 5 Primary Election. 

Brewster County 

Republican candidates

Marisol Skelton, assistant district attorney, has filed for the role of County Attorney. J. Steve Houston is currently county attorney but not seeking reelection. Skelton is running unopposed in the primary.

Incumbent James Westermann, a business owner, filed for County Commissioner Precinct 1. Incumbent Flavio Ybarra filed for Constable Precinct 1. Both are running unopposed.

It was unclear as of press time whether Monica McBride plans to continue in her role as Brewster County Republican Party Chair. 

Democratic candidates 

Both incumbent Ruben Ortega and Joe Portillo, who serves on the Alpine ISD School Board, are running for County Commissioner Precinct 3. 

Incumbent Sheriff Ronnie Dodson filed to run for reelection as did incumbent Tax Assessor-Collector Sylvia Vega. Both are running unopposed.

Brewster County Democratic Party Chair Mary Bell Lockhart filed to continue in her role. 

Jeff Davis County

Republican candidates 

Incumbent Jody Adams, a water operator, filed to run for County Commissioner Precinct 1. Adams is running unopposed. Incumbent John Davis, a ranch manager, filed to run for County Commissioner Precinct 3 and will be met by challenger Graydon Hicks, Fort Davis ISD superintendent.  

The combined role of Sheriff/Tax Assessor-Collector received three candidates: Victor Lopez, a police officer; Clay Woods, a retired police officer; C.W. Stephens, current deputy sheriff and Rick McIvor. Bill Kitts, who currently holds the office, will not seek reelection. 

King Merritt, deputy sheriff, and incumbent Mike Wright both filed for the role of County Constable. As of press time, no candidates have filed for the role of County Attorney. 

Matthew Blackman filed to continue in his role as Jeff Davis County Republican Party Chair as did Jeff Davis County Democratic Party Chair Calvin Glover.

*Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story did not include Rick McIvor as a Jeff Davis County Sheriff candidate