Let the campaign season begin

A host of local citizens have signed up to serve the public interest in the political arena of Election 2004. Despite the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary's description of politics as "political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices," many honest and upright Bexar County citizens have thrown their names into the hat.

Although members of the State Legislature should refrain from making any new laws until it rewrites the state constitution, many have filed to serve in Austin for the prestige of sitting in the House on Congress Avenue, the free box of colored pencils (for redrawing district maps), and the exciting excursions to New Mexico and Oklahoma.

As of January 5, the following have filed their candidacy according to local Democratic and Republican party websites. (P.S. Democrats, please lose the pop-up ads. They are extremely irritating, and there are other ways to raise funds.)

   U.S. House of Representatives, District 20: Democratic incumbent Charles A. Gonzalez vs. ex-wife and Independent Becky Whetstone; Roger Scott, Republican challenger.

   U.S. House of Representatives, District 28: Democratic incumbent Ciro Rodriguez.

   State Senate District 26: Two-term Democrat Leticia Van De Putte vs. Johnny Rodriguez Jr.; Republican Julie "Mamabexar" Oldham vs Jim Valdez.

   State House District 116: Democratic incumbent Trey Martinez Fischer; Republican challenger Chris Schindler.

   District 117: Democrats David McQuade Leibowitz, a tort attorney specializing in environmental issues, vs. Tomás Larralde and Ken Mireles, currently chief of staff for County Judge Nelson Wolff and former director of the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign's Hispanic outreach program. The seat is held by Ken Mercer, a Republican who won in 2002 after his Democratic challenger Raul Prados, was implicated in bribery scandals.

   District 118: Democrat incumbent Carlos Uresti; Republican challenger Steve Salyer, a physician's assistant who practices emergency medicine.

   District 119: Democratic incumbent Robert Puente; Republican challenger Loretta Kusek.

   District 120: Democratic incumbent Ruth Jones McClendon vs. Sandra Martinez, who ran for City Council District 2 last year.

   District 121: Republican incumbent Elizabeth Ames Jones.

   District 122: Republican incumbent Frank J. Corte Jr.

   District 123: Democratic incumbent Mike Villarreal; Republican challenger Sandra Ojeda Medina; Independent Thomas Hanson.

   District 124: Democratic incumbent Jose Menendez.

   District 125: Democratic incumbent Joaquin Castro.

The following Bexar County judgeships are up for election.

   37th District Court: Republican incumbent David Berchelmann.

   57th District Court: Republican incumbent Pat Boone- not the actor/crooner who recorded "Big Bad John."

   73rd District Court: Democratic incumbent Andy Mirales.

   131st District Court: Democratic incumbent John D. Gabriel; Republican Challenger Bill White.

   166th District Court: Democratic incumbent Martha Tanner.

   175th District Court: Democratic incumbent Mary Roman.

   288th District Court: Republican Lori Massey appointed in December by Governor Rick Perry vs. Jim Brister and Bill Chenault; Democratic challenger Larry Noll.

   379th District Court: Republican incumbent Bert Richardson.

   386th District Court: Republican incumbent Laura Parker.

   399th District Court: Republican incumbent Juanita A. Vasquez-Gardner.

   408th District Court: Republican incumbent Rebecca Simmons; Democratic challenger Milton I. Fagin.

For those who prefer taxes over death:

   Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector: Democratic incumbent Sylvia S. Romo; Republican challenger Robert Cantu

   Bexar County Shire Reve (Sheriff): Democratic incumbent Ralph Lopez vs. Larry Ricketts; Republicans Pete Lozano, John Steinberg and Mark Vojvodich

   County Commissioner, Precinct 3: Republican incumbent Lyle Larson.

   County Commissioner, Precinct 1: Democratic incumbent Robert Tejeda Jr. vs Rolando Gutierrez and Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez.

   Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 1: Democratic incumbent Marcia S. Weiner.

   Precinct 1, no places indicated: Democrats Jesse "Jay" Alaniz, George Gutierrez, Leo Pacheco, and Monica Lisa Caballero.

   Constable Precinct 1: Democrats Charlie Campos Jr., vs. Stan Ramos and incumbent Ruben C. Tejeda (currently constable Precinct 5, which was decommissioned by Commissioner's Court; Tejeda sued).

   Constable Precinct 2: Democratic incumbent Jimmy Willborn,; Republicans challengers Lino Martinez, W.E. "Bill" Stannard, Danny S. Vela, and Stephen "Steve" Garza.

   Constable Precinct 3: Republican incumbent Bob Lew vs. David A. Cleveland.

   Constable Precinct 4: Three Democrats are running: Robert Michael Blount, Louis De La O, and Manolo "Mano" Valente.

Those who survive the March Primary balloting will stand for election on Tuesday, November 2. Only one ballot per citizen, and the dead are not allowed to vote, except in counties along the Rio Grande. •

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