The Texas primary elections are still set - tentatively - for March 6, even though a panel of three federal judges has extended filing deadlines until 6 p.m. Monday.
Still, questions persist, like whether some elections could be delayed, according to information made available to the Bulletin by Brown County Republican Party Chairman Brad Locker and Brown County Elections Administrator Suzy Young.
Judges left open for now the question of whether any or all of the state's primary elections should be pushed to another date, after hearing testimony from several election administrators about the logistical problems and high costs that would result from split primaries. They instead prepared to sign a proposal that would allow candidates to file for office through Monday, and to change their filings later - or to withdraw altogether - as the political maps change. The dates of the elections and the exact matchups of candidates and districts will be settled later.
The courts are trying to sort out issues caused by litigation over redistricting maps for legislative and congressional seats in Texas. The Legislature drew maps earlier this year that haven't yet been approved under the federal Voting Rights Act. A second panel of federal judges, based in Washington, D.C., will begin hearings on that required "pre-clearance" on Jan. 17.
The San Antonio judges drew interim maps last month. The Legislature's maps haven't been approved, and time was running out for election deadlines. But the U.S. Supreme Court, at the request of the state of Texas, blocked the San Antonio judges' maps last week and set hearings for Jan. 9.
That Supreme Court order left the state with no legal maps for congressional districts or state House and Senate districts, and with very little time left before the March 6 primaries to sort it all out. Candidates were already filing for office, however. Until Wednesday's order, the filing deadline had been Thursday evening.
Another issue, Young said, is the matter of the state's certification of the results of the November election amending the Texas Constitution. Among those amendments was a provision that changed the date an official in one office can file to run in a different one without automatically resigning. That prompted some party officials to recommend that public officials facing such a situation delay filing until the matter is resolved.
Candidates for county offices file with the county chair of the chosen party. Candidates for offices that have jurisdiction in multiple counties file in Austin.
Thursday afternoon, Locker said the following candidates had filed for positions in Brown County on the Republican Party ticket: Bobby Grubbs, sheriff; Shane Britton, county attorney; Cheryl Nelson, tax assessor; Steve Adams and Tommy Blevins, Pct. 1 commissioner; Richard Gist, Chris Cadenhead and Wayne Shaw, Pct. 3 commissioner; Bob Beadel, Pct. 1 constable; David Hefner, Pct. 2 constable; C.T. Ham, Pct. 3 constable; Keith Varner, Pct. 3 constable; and Jim Byars, Pct. 4 constable.
Races have developed in Pct. 1 commissioner, in which incumbent Adams will face Blevins; Pct. 3 commissioner, in which Gist will face Cadenhead and Shaw; and Pct. 3 constable, in which Ham will face Varner.