Editor's note: A previous version of this story included incorrect information about the Pct. 1 commissioner's seat in Upshur County. This version has been corrected. 

A Mineola social worker has filed to challenge Republican District 1 state Sen. Bryan Hughes in November, while two other area lawmakers also face opponents in the March primary or the general election.

Audrey Spanko, a Democrat, and Hughes, who also lives in Mineola, are uncontested in their respective March 3 primaries.

In a statement, Spanko said she wants to represent East Texas and fight for affordable health care. She added that four hospitals have closed in the past nine years in Senate District 1, which encompasses Gregg, Harrison, Panola, Upshur, Rusk, Camp, Cass, Morris, Marion, Smith, Wood, Titus, Franklin, Bowie, Red River and Lamar counties.

She said she received two social work degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked for nonprofit organizations, health care facilities and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

She was raised in Mineola and graduated from Quitman High School.

Spanko filed her candidacy Friday — one day after Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed Hughes’ reelection bid.

Other contested state and federal races around East Texas include Tyler Democrat Hank Gilbert, a Tyler rancher and small business owner, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert in the November general election.

Among Texas House races, Jay Dean, R-Longview, is unopposed in his reelection bid for District 7.

In District 6, Tyler attorney and Republican incumbent Matt Shaefer will face Democrat Julie Gobble, a college student, in November.

In District 9, incumbent Chris Paddie is challenged by Carthage rancher and oil and gas producer Mark Williams in the Republican primary. There is no Democratic challenger for the seat.

Meanwhile, several contested races are pegged for the March 3 Republican primaries in Upshur and Rusk counties.

A smaller slate looms for possible contested races in November’s general election, as only a handful of Democrats filed for county-level races.

Upshur County

Unless a write-in or independent candidate emerges, it appears that the only county-level race in 2020 after the March primaries in either Upshur or Rusk county will be for Upshur County tax assessor-collector, where Republican incumbent Louana Howell is facing a challenge from Democrat Jurel Ford White.

Howell and White are unopposed in their respective primaries.

White is the only Democrat to file for any countywide office, said Upshur County Democratic Chairwoman Winifred Jackson.

Upshur Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka’s announcement not to seek reelection yielded five Republican candidates who want to replace him.

Kent Abernathy, Michael Ashley, Robert Green, Daphne Grimes and Richard Smith signed up for the Republican primary to replace Berka, said Upshur County Republican Chairwoman Cynthia Ridgeway.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry isn’t seeking reelection, and three Republicans — James Noble, Gene Dolle and Jim Bardwell — have filed to fill the seat in the March primary.

Dolle, who is Pct. 1 constable, is not seeking reelection. He will likely be succeeded by Tim Barnett, who is unopposed in the Republican primary.

The Pct. 3 constable race features an unusual twist.

Interim Constable Ryan Ludvigson will face former Constable Ronnie Mitchell in the Republican primary. Ludvigson was appointed constable last month after Mitchell resigned.

Republican Pct. 4 Constable Larry Sewell is facing two challengers in the primary: David Thompson and Phillip Hill.

Unopposed Republican incumbents in Upshur County include Sheriff Larry Webb and Pct. 2 Constable Jason Weeks.

Deborah Stormcloud Bankston is unopposed to become the next Upshur County Republican Party chairwoman, as Ridgeway isn’t seeking relection, Ridgeway said.

Rusk County

While no Democrats filed for any races in Rusk County, the Republican primary will be active, according to the Rusk County Elections Office.

Sheriff Jeff Price will face three challengers in March: Nathan Parker, Jesse Stewart and Johnwayne Valdez.

In the Pct. 1 commissioner race, Randy Gaut, Will Hale and Shannon Thompson will face off to fill the seat vacated by Bill Hale, who isn’t seeking reelection.

Four of the five constable positions will have contested Republican primaries, with the exception being Matt Allison, who is running for Pct. 2 constable.

Pct. 1 constable candidates are Bob Mitchell, Richard Stanley and Michael Smith; incumbent Sammy Nichols is not seeking reelection.

In the Pct. 3 constable race, candidates are incumbent Kenneth Miley and challenger Micah Buzbee.

Bobby Armstrong and Parker Sweeney will face off for the Pct. 4 constable position after incumbent David Guy declined to seek reelection.

Pct. 5 constable candidates are Trey Hacker and Daniel McMillen, as incumbent Jimmy Skinner isn’t seeking reelection.

Other incumbent Rusk County Republicans who are unopposed in the March 3 primary are Pct. 3 Commissioner Greg Gibson, 4th District Judge Clay Gossett, District Attorney Micheal Jimerson and Tax Assessor Nesha Partin.

Panola County

Panola County positions up for election where only one person filed include incumbent 123rd District Judge LeAnn Rafferty; incumbent Sheriff Kevin Kevin Lake; incumbent Tax Assessor/Collector Holly Gibbs; Billy Alexander for Pct. 1 Commissioner after Ronnie LeGrone declined to seek reelection; incumbent Pcts. 1 and 4 Constable Bryan Murff; and Charlie Blue for Pcts. 2 and 3 constable after Mitch Norton declined to seek reelection.

Recommended for You