by Walker County News Today staff
All across Texas, the party faithful have been inundated with mailers, phone calls, door knocks, and social media ads leading up to today’s runoff election.
With three local runoff races in Walker County, turnout has been higher than normal for a runoff election.
Walker County Democrat Party voters have only one runoff race to decide: Railroad Commissioner candidates Cody Garrett vs. Grady Yarbrough.
For Walker County Republican Party voters, there are four or five races on their ballot, depending on the precinct in which they vote.
In Precinct 1: Two candidates are vying for the open seat being vacated by Democrat incumbent Commissioner BJ Gaines: Danny Kuykendal and Tom DeYoung.
In Precinct 2: Challenger Shane Loosier is trying to unseal long-term incumbent Constable Reed Prehoda.
In Precinct 3: Incumbent Glen Reader is trying to hold on to his seat against challenger Bill Daugette. Reader was appointed as Pct 3 Commissioner when the seat was unexpectedly vacated by former Commissioner Bobby Warren.
Precinct 4 does not have local runoff races ballot.
The race for House District 18 State Representative has been one of the most heated local races. House District 18 encompasses Walker, San Jacinto, and Liberty counties. The open seat being vacated by current State Representative John Otto is being watched by various groups across the state. Ernest Bailes, whose donors include a wide variety of PACs and lobbyists is running against Keith Strahan who’s campaign has been primarily funded by grassroots PACS and Tea Party groups.
In an interesting twist, a Houston firefighters union has even weighed in on this race by sending mailers to local voters as well as paying for signs throughout the district claiming that “Walker County first responders” support a specific candidate. The Houston Fire Fighters PAC was instrumental in helping Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner win his recent election. After the appearance of the “first responder” signs at least one local fire department took to social media to remind Walker County voters that their department, a non profit, does not endorse candidates.
Other races on the GOP ballot include the following:
- Railroad Commissioner: Gary Gates vs. Wayne Christian
- Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2: Mary Lou Keel vs. Ray Wheeless
- Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5: Scott Walker vs. Brent Webster
Voting locations for this election will be limited. Most voters will need to go to the Walker County Annex to cast their vote, The New Waverly and Riverside locations are the only two additional voting boxes that are open on election day. Polls are open today from 7 AM to 7 PM.