Republican Party County Chair Bill Knight was in the Moore County Clerk's office Thursday to watch as Moore County Clerk Brenda McKanna and her employees drew names from a tiny red, white, and blue pail to determine in what order the candidates' names will appear on the ballot for the March 3 Republican Party primary election. Candidates Lindsey Nicholson, Kevin Smith, and Tim Salley also dropped by to witness the process.
There are three contested races on the ballot: Moore County Tax Assessor/Collector, 69th Judicial District Attorney, and 13th Congressional District of Texas. The incumbents, Nikki McDonald, David Green, and Rep. Mac Thornberry respectively, all declined to run for reelection in 2020, so the offices were all up for grabs. In the 13th District race, the absence of Thornberry has inspired 15 candidates to vie for his soon-to-be vacant seat. And that is just on the Republican side. There are three candidates in the Democratic primary (Timothy Gassaway, Greg Sagan, and Gus Trujillo), insuring that there will be a contested election in November. There are no Democratic candidates for Tax Assessor/Collector or DA, so the winner of the Republican primary will win the office. Knight said he expects there to be runoffs in both the congressional and the tax races. Most offices in Moore County are uncontested, and all elected Moore County officials are Republicans.
January 1 is the first day and February 21 is the last day to apply for a ballot by mail. February 3 is the last day to register to vote. Early voting begins February 18 and ends February 28.
Kevin Smith, Lindsey Nicholson, and Chris Rivera are all running to take Nikki McDonald's place as Tax Assessor/Collector, while Tim Salley and Erin Lands are vying for David Green's office. Monique Worthy, Vance Snider II, Chris Ekstrom, Jason Fogelsong, Diane Knowlton, Josh Winegarner, Richard Herman, Asusena Resendiz, Mark Neese, Catherine Carr, Matt Mc Arthur, Ronny Jackson, Lee Harvey, Jaime Culley, and Elaine Hays all hope to be the Republican candidate who goes up against the Democrat in November.
McKanna's office will carry out a joint primary election for the two parties. Knight signed a joint primary election service contract to that end on Thursday. Because there is not a local Democratic Party Chair, McKanna will have to contract with the state party for the election. "Both parties will be in the same spot to make it easier for everyone," said Knight.
McKanna stressed that people voting in March are only allowed to vote for candidates in either the Democratic races or the Republican races, not both. "This is a primary, they have to vote in one party or the other," she said.
"There are two different ballots," added Knight.
In the November general election, the winners of the Republican primaries will face off against the winners of the Democratic primaries. There will only be one ballot, and people may vote for the candidate of their choice from either party.
McKanna also stresses that all votes are secret. No one knows how you voted.
Finally, she said, "Get out and vote!"
"It is always better when they vote," added Knight.