Field set for March 1 GOP primary

Former Sheriff Chuck Edge challenging Todd Little for Ellis County Judge seat

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Todd Little
Chuck Edge

Election season never really seems to end in Ellis County, and the ballots are set for the upcoming March 1 Republican Party primaries, according to the Ellis County GOP.

At the countywide level, there are two contested races. Chuck Edge, the former Ellis County sheriff and Waxahachie police chief, is challenging County Judge Todd Little in the March 1 Republican primary; and perennial Waxahachie City Council candidate Paul Christenson is running against incumbent Richard Rozier for county tax assessor-collector.

Rozier, who unsuccessfully challenged Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry in 2020, was appointed to the office of assessor-collector in 2021 following the sudden resignation of former longtime officeholder John Bridges. Edge was defeated by Brad Norman, the current incumbent sheriff, in a 2020 primary runoff.

The only county commissioner race up for grabs is in Precinct 4, where incumbent Kyle Butler is seeking re-election to a fourth term against challengers Rick Ridgeway and Dennis Deweerd. Precinct 2 Commissioner Lane Grayson is unopposed for re-election.

In Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, Cody McKinney, Louis Ponder and Danell Winter are running for the office. Ponder, who had previously announced he would run against Butler but was redistricted out of that precinct, is instead running for Precinct 4 JP.

The other three county JPs — Chris Macon, Jackie Miller Jr. and Dan Cox — are unopposed in the GOP primary.

Precinct 3 Constable Curtis Polk Jr. is the only Democrat holding an elective position in Ellis County and will remain in office after drawing no opposition. County commissioners recently approved a redrawing of Precinct 3, which since 1990 had been a majority-minority precinct. Precinct 2 Constable Casey Borders is unopposed in the GOP primary.

Other county-specific offices are unopposed in the Republican primary, including Jim Chapman in County Court-at-Law No. 1; A. Gene Calvert in County Court-at-Law No. 2; Melanie Reed as District Clark; Krystal Valdez as County Clerk; and Cheryl Chambers as County Treasurer.

Steve Smith is unopposed for Place 3 on the 10th District Court of Appeals, and Bob Carroll is unopposed in the 40th Judicial District in the Republican primary. However, Carroll will face Democrat Rwan “Ro” Hardesty in the November general election.

In other races, U.S. Rep. Jake Ellzey is running for re-election to a full 2-year term for the U.S. House District 6 seat and will face James Buford and Bill Payne in the Republican primary. The primary winner will have no Democratic opposition on the November general ballot. Because of redistricting, District 6 is much more rural, extending into East Texas with a small portion protruding into Tarrant and Dallas counties.

All three state legislative races involving Ellis County are uncontested in the Republican primary. District 10 State Rep. Brian Harrison and District 22 State Sen. Brian Birdwell are both unopposed and will advance to new legislative terms, while District 2 State Sen. Bob Hall will face Democrat Prince Giadolor of Rockwall in the general.

Ellis County was split into half roughly along Interstate 35E in the State Senate redistricting, with Birdwell representing the western half, including Midlothian; and Hall representing the eastern half, which includes most of Waxahachie and Red Oak and all of Ennis.

Because of redistricting approved by the Texas Legislature this fall in accordance with 2020 U.S. Census figures, House District 10 now encompasses all of Ellis County alone.

Also on the ballot are numerous statewide primary races, including for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, agriculture commissioner, land commissioner, railroad commissioner, three Texas Supreme Court seats and three Texas Court of Criminal Appeals seats. In the Texas Board of Education District 14 race, incumbent Sue Melton-Malone will face Evelyn Brooks in the Republican primary.

The last day to register to vote in the March 1 primary is Monday, Jan. 31. Early voting will take place Feb. 14-20 and Feb. 22-25 at voting centers throughout Ellis County.

If runoffs are needed, they will take place on May 24.

A look ahead

Filing won’t take place until January and February for the nonpartisan May 7 joint city and school board elections, but already one open seat is known.

Waxahachie City Council member Melissa Olson announced last month she will not be running for re-election to another two-year term. Chris Wright has already stated his candidacy for the departing Olson’s Place 3 on the Waxahachie City Council.

Patrick Souter, a candidate in last May’s City Council election, has declared his candidacy to run against Mayor Doug Barnes in Place 2.

Neither Barnes nor David Hill, the former mayor and the Place 1 incumbent, have formally declared their candidacies for re-election yet, but each has hinted at it on social media.