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Filing begins for local, state races

By Glenn Evans
Nov. 27, 2011 at 11 p.m.

Candidates will begin filing for office today as the 2012 election cycle gets under way in Gregg and the state's other 253 counties.

Lawsuits challenging new political lines drawn by the GOP-dominated Legislature prompted judges to push the filing window back two weeks. The new window is today through Dec. 15.

Candidates must file with their respective parties. Candidates seeking offices that represent multiple counties must file their intentions with the state party, while those seeking offices contained within single counties file with their county chairmen.

Local Democratic hopefuls can file with Gregg County Democratic Chairman Bryce Bagby by calling (903) 452-0610.

Gregg County Republican candidates can file with Keith Rothra at the GOP headquarters at 220 N. Fredonia St. in downtown Longview. The office will open from noon to 5 p.m. today, then 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays until Dec. 15 when it remains open to 6 p.m.

Rothra said it looks like several offices will be contested in the March 6 Republican primary.

Those include the Precinct 1 commissioner seat, which Charles Davis has indicated he is likely to relinquish after five terms in office.

Construction consultant Ronnie McKinney, 65, filed paperwork in April naming a campaign treasurer in his bid for Davis' seat. The document must be filed before a candidate can raise money and is a separate requirement from formal filing that begins today.

In Precinct 3, which includes White Oak and much of Kilgore, Commissioner Gary Boyd has said he plans to seek a full, four-year term. Boyd, 68, was appointed a year ago to succeed Bob Barbee, who resigned.

Boyd has drawn competition from Gregg County Courthouse maintenance employee Bobby Joe Baker and former Kilgore Mayor Joe Parker. Baker and Parker have filed their treasurer's designations.

Other Gregg County incumbents say they seek re-election.

All Republicans, the incumbents include Sheriff Maxey Cerliano, Tax Assessor/Collector Kirk Shields and constables James Plumlee and Billy Fort in precincts 1 and 2.

Pct. 3 Constable Bill Echart has announced he will retire. Bagby said Democratic Precinct 4 Constable Robby Cox also plans to file for re-election.

Michael Baggett Jr. and Johnny Edwards have filed treasurer's appointments to replace Echart, while the other constables had drawn no opponents by Wednesday.

In statewide offices, incumbent Republican state Rep. David Simpson said Wednesday that he plans to file today for a second term in Austin.

Former Rep. Tommy Merritt, the Republican incumbent Simpson beat in 2010, said he will begin gauging his chances today to retake that office.

"I'll begin in Gilmer," Merritt said, noting that redistricting reshaped the district to include all of Upshur County while taking away its Smith County component.

State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, picked up Harrison County in the redraw and has been making appearances in that county.



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