Candidate Information for Contested Races

Early Vote Begins Monday, February 14th

With 15 races on the ballot and 6 highly contested races, your vote will choose the candidates who best represent the Democratic Party in the November General Election.

We used the League of Women Voters of Texas to compile a “cliff notes” rendition of our contested races. The candidates are listed as they will appear on the primary election ballot. For more detailed information on the candidates, visit their website or visit the full contents answers from candidates in the LWV candidate guide.
Voters Guide – The League of Women Voters of Texas (clubexpress.com)

A random ballot draw decides the order of the candidates. 

GOVERNOR – Four-year term. The governor is the chief executive of the state. They appoint members to boards and commissions; appoint statewide executive officials, and, when vacancies occur, state judges and district attorneys; deliver the State of the State address; provide guidance to the legislature; call special sessions of the legislature and set the agenda.  The governor can veto legislation (including a line-item veto on appropriations), sign legislation, or allow it to become law without their signature. Current salary: $153,750

 Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Michael Cooper- I was the President of the Southeast Texas Toyota Dealers association when I secured the naming rights of the Toyota Center. It is we’re the Houston Rockets play. My team had great confidence that I could secure the more than 100 million $ contract.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Michael Cooper- If a State or local official is not acting in kind towards the citizens, I believe we would never had integrated schools if it were not for the federal Government forcing Governor Wallace to allow Blacks in all white schools. In Texas we are run by a Republican Party does not recognize all people equal. The federal Government should pass the John Lewis voters act to help.

Campaign Websitehttp://Www.cooper2022

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Inocencio (Inno) Barrientez- Candidate has not yet responded.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Inocencio (Inno) Barrientez- Candidate has not yet responded.

Campaign Website: not available

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Joy Diaz- Learned about public service from missionary parents who served people who lived in garbage dumps in MX City Former public school teacher & public radio reporter who learned about the intricacies of TX from the stories of Texans Graduated UT’s LBJWCS

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Joy Diaz- Only extreme circumstances merit the intervention of the federal government in state matters. The same is true for the state overpowering local governments. By “extreme”, I mean emergencies such as natural disasters or circumstances in which public health or human rights are threatened. During COVID, TX has overpowagainst the wisdom of health experts.

Campaign Websitehttp://texasneedsjoy.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Beto O’Rourke- Beto O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Texan, born and raised in El Paso where he has served as a small business owner, a city council member and a member of Congress. He founded Powered by People, a Texas-based voting rights and service organization.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Beto O’Rourke- The divisions of authority between state and federal officials and state and local officials, are described in the federal and Texas constitutions (and subsequent statutes), respectively. An elected official’s authority should be limited when the official acts in excess of their constitutional and statutory authority or otherwise violates the constitution or law.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.betofortexas.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Rich Wakeland- Licensed Engineer & Attorney & Business Owner; Policy Advisor to Commissioner Anderson, Public Utility Commission of Texas April 2013 – April 2018; Retired nuclear submarine Navy Reserve Captain w/ 4 Commands; Power generation and ERCOT expertise.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Rich Wakeland- Federal limiting of State Officials: Only if the health, safety, or welfare of the public is in danger by state official’s actions. State limiting of Local Officials: Only if the health, safety, or welfare of the public is in danger by local official’s actions. Authority for decisions should be held at the lowest level of government to keep citizens engaged and empowered.

Campaign Websitehttp://wakelandfortexas.com

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR – Four-year term. The lieutenant governor is powerful because of their position as president of the Texas Senate, where they appoint the chairs and vice-chairs of committees; appoint senators to committees; assign bills to committees; and control the Senate’s agenda. The Lieutenant Governor is also a member of several commissions and boards, and serves as governor in the governor’s absence.  The salary is that of a State Senator when serving as President of the Texas Senate and that of the Governor when serving in that capacity.

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Michelle Beckley- I was elected to the Texas Legislature in 2018 and became the first Democrat to ever represent District 65 in Denton County. I said I would fight for healthcare, education, & the environment and did. This led to an improved margin win in 2020.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Michelle Beckley- Texas has been controlled by the GOP for over 25 years. State officials are running amuck due to checks & balances that no longer exist. The federal government needs to address the Voting Rights Bills. We saw our freedom to vote diluted as well as extreme gerrymandering in 2021.

The state government should not interfere with local health regulations.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.michellebeckley.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Carla Brailey- I have served Texas as an educator, advocate, and Texas Democratic Party Vice-chair as a champion of people and working families. Equity in education, economics, opportunity, and justice is the best way to move Texas forward for all people.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Carla Brailey- It is the responsibility of each government entity to work together for the benefit of the people that they serve. We live and serve in a representative democracy and to limit the authority of a government to do what is best for the people is taking away their representation.

Campaign Websitehttp://carlafortexas.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Mike CollierMike spent his career as a CPA and an auditor at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before becoming a CFO of a Texas energy company, helping create good-paying jobs. His experience as an accountant gives him a deep understanding of how our state’s budget works.

Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?

Mike CollierIf the behavior of any official is inconsistent with our constitutional rights, then it is the responsibility of the federal government, particularly the courts, to step in.

That said, local control is key to accountability, and it’s at the heart of a healthy democracy. So, as Lt. Governor, I will work closely with duly elected local partners—not against them.

Campaign Websitehttp://CollierforTexas.com

ATTORNEY GENERAL – Four-year term. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the state; represents the state and state officials in legal matters; issues opinions; oversees collection of child support; administers the crime victims compensation fund; enforces the open records/open meetings acts; approves public bond issues; and enforces consumer regulations.  Current salary: $153,750

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Joe Jaworski- Licensed TX attorney; 30 years’ experience in trial/appellate litigation in TX state and federal courts. TX mediator; 8 years local govt. experience: councilmember, mayor pro tem and mayor of Galveston, TX. Mentored by my grandfather Leon Jaworski.

Priorities: As Attorney General, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Joe JaworskiOn day one of my administration, I will dismiss any lingering lawsuits brought by the Texas AG against the ACA before lunch. I will testify in the 2023 Legislature for cannabis legalization (for jobs, to help our veterans, and to give our police a break so they can fight real crime). I will ensure principals register every 18 year old pursuant to Tex. Elec. Code 13.046(d).

Campaign Websitehttp://www.JaworskiForTexas.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Rochelle Mercedes Garza- I have experience in immigration, family, criminal, and constitutional law. My work has resulted in the “Garza Notice,” a requirement that teens in immigration detention have a right to access abortion, reinforcing a constitutional right nationwide.

Priorities: As Attorney General, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Rochelle Mercedes Garza- As AG, I will fight for our Texas families. This means protecting constitutional rights, including voting & abortion rights; consumer protection, so our energy grid doesn’t fail; and prioritizing public health, so municipalities & schools can protect people in the middle of a pandemic and our rural communities have the infrastructure they need, like clean drinking water.

Campaign Websitehttp://RochelleGarzaforTexas.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Lee Merritt- I have spent my legal career doing the work of the “people’s lawyer” and running one of the leading constitutional firms in the country. My work has been recognized by Our Revolution, NAACP, ACLU, Innocence Project, National Bar Association, and SPLC.

Priorities: As Attorney General, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Lee Merritt- My highest priorities are to improve voter protection, ensure women’s reproductive rights, and to protect our public schools. I will focus on engaging new voters through community outreach and work towards public financing of elections. I will cooperate with state and federal legislators to codify Roe vs. Wade. I plan to fight for policies like the College Act.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.leemerritt4texas.com/

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Mike Fields- I am a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney, former Assistant Texas Attorney General and Retired Judge of twenty years. I have a Criminal Justice degree from Texas State University and a Law Degree from St. Mary’s Law School.

Priorities: As Attorney General, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Mike Fields- Texas is seeing unprecedented population and economic growth due, in large part, to our business friendly laws. My highest priority would be to ensure that laws regarding voting, equal rights, reproductive rights and civil rights for all, including the LGBT community, continue to encourage that growth.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.mikefieldsforag.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

S. “TBone” RaynorFresh out of SMU Law School, I became General Counsel at a nationwide financial group involved in hundreds of lawsuits. I jawboned many Sec. of State. Managed two Pro Bono Legal Clinics. General Practice. I believe in balancing Science and Economics.

Priorities: As Attorney General, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

S. “TBone” RaynorChoosing what laws to enforce using Micah 6:8, not through political corruption requiring loyalty oaths of Collin County Judges. Using the Courts/media to fairly reduce: jail populations by mental health treatment; foster care sanctions using churches who have successful people who know how to help; our property taxes. Jail people committing fraud; collect child support.

Campaign Website: Not available

COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS – Four-year term. The comptroller is the chief financial officer of the state; collects state taxes and fees; pays the state’s bills; provides revenue estimates to the legislature; certifies the budget; reports the condition of the state’s finances; and provides economic development assistance to local governments and private businesses.  Current salary: $153,750

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Angel Luis Vega- I am a purpose-driven professional offering over 20 years in business strategy, finance, operations, managing multimillion-dollar budgets, and large groups of people. Bachelor of Business Administration & Master in Management & Leadership.

Priorities: As Comptroller, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Angel Luis Vega- I would focus on transparency, accountability, efficiency, optimizing the office’s capabilities, boosting entrepreneurship, attracting new business opportunities, thriving jobs, and reducing unemployment under 3%. Guarantee retirement security & protect pensions. I will make decisions in the interest of all the people of Texas, not the special interest groups.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.angelvega.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Tim Mahoney- Trained as a journalist in the 1970’s (Texas Observer and DMN), went to the LBJ School of Public Affairs (UT-Austin) in the 1980’s, then to Law School. I have been a practicing attorney since 1992.

Priorities: As Comptroller, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Tim Mahoney- The Texas Comptroller is the largest public data center in Texas, and we should begin to produce information in a transparent form that enhances every region in Texas. If we understand that there is more power in collaboration than in division, we can begin to build a Texas government that belongs to all Texans. Our Redistricting process should result in compact districts.

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Janet T. Dudding- I’m a certified public accountant (CPA) who’s spent my adult life in governmental accounting, auditing, administration and even investigations.

Priorities: As Comptroller, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Janet T. Dudding- Comptroller has the bully pulpit on how our money is spent.

Expanding comp mental health & healthcare to 1.4 million adult Texans saves $100 million in state tax and our property taxes.

Work with local governments re broadband as a local utility, keeping the costs down and creating an income stream.

Work with state agencies, reduce methane emissions on state property.

Campaign Websitehttp://janetdudding4texas.com

COMMISSIONER of the GENERAL LAND OFFICE – Four-year term. As head of the General Land Office, the commissioner manages state lands, including oil and gas properties (which supply funds to the Permanent School Fund) and the Alamo. The commissioner chairs the Veterans Land Board, which administers programs for Texas veterans, and is responsible for environmental protection of Texas’ coast. Other state boards chaired include the School Land Board and the Coastal Coordination Advisory Committee. Current salary $140,938

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Jay Kleberg- I grew up working on the King Ranch and have spent my whole career in conservation. I served as the Associate Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, and now I own a land-based conservation business and work in environmental education.

Priorities: As Land Commissioner, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Jay Kleberg- My top priorities for the next four years are to adequately fund our Texas schools through the General Land Office’s contribution to the Permanent School Fund, address the effects of climate change and diversify our state’s energy portfolio to strengthen our grid, and to prepare for future natural disasters by fortifying our coast and other vulnerable areas of our state.

Campaign Websitehttp://jay4tx.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Jinny Suh- Strong science background (B.S., M.S. biology), former teacher, licensed attorney, small business owner, years as community organizer and advocate at Texas legislature, working mom of 2 young children, proven record of fighting for what’s right.

Priorities: As Land Commissioner, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Jinny Suh- I aim to bring all stakeholders to the table to craft proactive solutions including incentivizing development of renewables, preparing our state for weather disasters, and increasing funding for public schools by maximizing revenue generated by state contracts and advocating for an increase in the amount directed to the Permanent School Fund.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.jinnysuhfortexas.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Sandragrace Martinez- My expertise in trauma informed care, crisis management, my in-depth understanding of the legislative process, and the desire for educating my community, is a passion that has equipped me with the necessary skills to perform these duties.

Priorities: As Land Commissioner, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Sandragrace Martinez- Disaster readiness and prevention with fine tuning the logistics involved are paramount. Honoring our Veterans with the same level of devotion and allegiance that they made to this country, and applying that same devotion to their benefits and healthcare. I want to create more programs and initiatives to help provide funding for public education.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.sandragrace4texans.com/

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Michael Lange– 40 years of small and large business, senior experience. GLO Budget is $3.4 Billion. 800 Staff. Managed large, diversified groups with intensive risk, investment and leadership skills. City Knowledge/Rural Wisdom. Skillset to serve.

Priorities: As Land Commissioner, what would be your highest priorities for the next four years, and how do you intend to accomplish them?

Michael Lange- 1. The Safety of the People of Texas. 2. All People Treated with Equal Respect 3. Be a Man for Others. 4. Work constantly to Better the Lives of All Texans. Ensure Texas Veterans and Gold Star Families have the best state benefits in the nation, my plan TEXAS HAS YOUR SIX. Improve Reading levels in K-12. Currently 45th in the Nation. Unacceptable. Small Business Champion.

Campaign Websitehttp://LANGEFORLAND.com

COMMISSIONER of AGRICULTURE – Four-year term. The agriculture commissioner’s principal job is promoting Texas’ agriculture. In that capacity, the commissioner facilitates trade and marketing of agricultural products; regulates weights and measures; regulates pesticide use; certifies organically produced products; administers the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs; provides financial help to farmers; and helps solve issues related to natural disasters.  Current salary $140,938

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Ed Ireson- If ranchers and farmers can’t hire enough workers to meet market demands, we all suffer. I’ll advocate for an immediate expansion of the H-2A visa program, so that we can alleviate labor shortages to help counteract the supply chain constraints faced by all Texans.

Priorities: What are the three most challenging issues for Texas farmers for the next four years, and what are your plans for dealing with number one on your list?

Ed Ireson- 1) Infrastructure 2) Supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers 3) Access to financial and grant opportunities for rural Texans

Our infrastructure is both expensive and slow — livestock trailers stuck in traffic jams because of failing roads and bridges, and slow or no internet in the homes of our young Texans limiting their educational opportunities.

Campaign Websitehttp://edfortexas.com

Qualifications: What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?

Susan Hays- As an attorney raised in and around agriculture with decades of Texas government experience, I am adept at analyzing then solving problems. With my servant’s heart, I will be dedicated to public service, helping farmers, and improving food quality.

Priorities: What are the three most challenging issues for Texas farmers for the next four years, and what are your plans for dealing with number one on your list?

Susan Hays- Economic survival, rural health care & climate change–and they are intertwined. I will look for opportunities, analyze the data, advocate to the USDA to change counter-productive policies, and help producers find a path to prosperity & environmental sustainability. Failing rural hospitals are an existential threat to rural communities and must be saved.

Campaign Websitehttp://www.hays4ag.com

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