Monday, December 22nd, 2014
Mostly True
Thorburn
Nearly 90% of Travis County government races will be settled by the time of the Democratic primary.

Wayne Thorburn on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 in an opinion column in the Austin American-Statesman

Only 3 Republicans in 19 Travis County races

If you think most of Travis County’s next batch of elected leaders will be chosen in November, you’re wrong, according to Wayne Thorburn.

The Austinite, a former director of the Republican Party of Texas whose book "Red State: An Insider’s Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics" comes out this spring, wrote in a Jan. 8, 2014, opinion column for the Austin American-Statesman: "There are 27 county government offices up for election in 2014. Of these, only three have the potential of being settled in the November election. ... Nearly 90 percent of all county races will be settled by the time of the Democratic primary" on March 4, 2014.

Travis County’s pretty blue, as Thorburn noted and as PolitiFact Texas explored in a recent fact-check of U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s claim that its surrounding counties are red (True).

Is it so blue that most of the county’s votes cast in the Nov. 4 election won’t really decide anything?

By email, Thorburn pointed us to the state elections website and said, "Please realize that I did not say 90 percent of all races that will appear on the November ballot in Travis County (which would include state, multi-county district, and state legislative positions). What I specifically said is county offices, including county judge, commissioners from precincts 2 and 4, several justices of the peace, and several county court at law positions."

The only assumption he made, Thorburn said, is that no Libertarian or Green Party candidates will win. "The secretary of state's web site does not include any Libertarian or Green Party candidates who may be nominated by a convention, rather than a primary," he said.

County elections official Michelle Parker guided us by phone to a breakdown of races on the county’s election website. Next, from the state secretary’s elections web page of candidates who filed for the primary by the Dec. 9, 2013 deadline, we pulled the Travis County names.

After setting aside the candidates for Congress, governor and other federal or state offices, we came up with 32 candidates running in 19 races and only three Republicans in the lot.

District Judge 201st District Court

Amy Clark Meachum

DEM

District Judge 250th District Court

Karin Crump

DEM

District Judge 419th District Court

Orlinda Naranjo

DEM

County Judge

Andy Brown

DEM

County Judge

Sarah Eckhardt

DEM

County Judge

Mike McNamara

REP

County Court At Law Judge #1

Todd Wong

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #2

Eric Montgomery Shepperd

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #3

John Lipscombe

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #3

Paul Evans

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #4

Mike Denton

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #5

Nancy Hohengarten

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #6

Brandy Mueller

DEM

County Court At Law Judge #7

Elisabeth Earle

DEM

County Probate Court Judge

Guy Herman

DEM

District Clerk

Velva L. Price

DEM

County Clerk

Dana DeBeauvoir

DEM

County Treasurer

Dolores Ortega Carter

DEM

County Treasurer

Ramey Ko

DEM

County Commissioner Precinct 2

Raymond Frank

REP

County Commissioner Precinct 2

Brigid Shea

DEM

County Commissioner Precinct 2

Garry Brown

DEM

County Commissioner Precinct 2

Richard Jung

DEM

County Commissioner Precinct 4

Darla Wegner

DEM

County Commissioner Precinct 4

Margaret J. Gomez

DEM

Justice of the Peace Precinct 1

Yvonne M. Williams

DEM

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2

Randall Slagle

DEM

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2

Glenn Bass

REP

Justice of the Peace Precinct 3

Susan Steeg

DEM

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4

Raul Arturo Gonzalez

DEM

Justice of the Peace Precinct 5

Herb Evans

DEM

Justice of the Peace Precinct 5

James Braxton Forrest

DEM

 

After we inquired, Thorburn said he had miscounted the number of races, and now tallied 19. "The percentages are still valid if 84.2 percent is acceptable as "nearly 90 percent,’ " he said.

Travis County Republican Party spokesman Andy Hogue confirmed by email that three Republicans are running for three Travis County offices, though he pointed out that more are bidding for offices Thorburn did not include: state House districts 47 and 50, both within the county’s boundaries.

Most Travis County candidates are, so far, unopposed, so that unless a Green or Libertarian files, Democrats are set to claim 12 offices without having to campaign for them.

Four more races will be settled in the Democratic primary in March (unless a Green, independent or Libertarian files) because they feature two Democrats facing off: county treasurer; county commissioner Precinct 4; county court at law judge No. 3; and justice of the peace Precinct 5.

The three races with a Republican contender: county judge, Precinct 2 county commissioner and Precinct 2 justice of the peace.

Our ruling

Thorburn said "nearly 90 percent" of the Travis County government races this year will be settled by the March Democratic primary, thanks to the paucity of Republicans who filed to run.

His declared count was too high. Still, 16 out of 19 races for county office lack a Republican candidate, which suggests that 84 percent of the positions will be all but settled once the primaries are over.

We rate this statement as Mostly True.


MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.