2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

VOTER GUIDE

Click on candidate photos for their full questionnaire responses.

Candidates were invited to complete a questionnaire — if they did not respond, answers were derived from public statements.


CANDIDATES

U.S. SENATOR

What they do: set national policy agenda, develop legislation, vote on bills, make laws

TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN

About the candidate: Current Junior U.S. Senator for Texas

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BETO O’ROURKE, DEMOCRAT

About the candidate: Current member of the U.S. House representing El Paso

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CANDIDATES

U.S. Representative, District 21

What they do: introduce bills & resolutions, offer amendments, serve on committees

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Joseph Kopser, Democrat

About the candidate: former Pentagon staffer

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Chip Roy, Republican

About the candidate: former Chief of Staff for Ted Cruz


CANDIDATES

U.S. Representative, District 23

What they do: introduce bills & resolutions, offer amendments, serve on committees

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Will Hurd, Republican

About the candidate: current U.S. Representative for District 23

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Gina ortiz jones, democrat

About the candidate: veteran Air Force intelligence officer

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candidates

Governor of Texas

What they do: set state priorities, sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature

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Greg Abbott, Republican

About the candidate: current Governor of Texas

Lupe Valdez, Democrat

About the candidate: former Sheriff of Dallas County

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candidates

lieutenant governor of texas

What they do: “second in command,” leads the Senate, controls budgeting process

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dan patrick, republican

About the candidate: current Lt. Governor of Texas

mike collier, democrat

About the candidate: accountant

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CANDIDATES

TEXAS SENATOR, DISTRICT 25

What they do: introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments, serve on committees

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DONNA CAMPBELL, REPUBLICAN

About the candidate: current Texas Senator, medical doctor

STEVEN KLING, DEMOCRAT

About the candidate: Amy veteran, small business owner


CANDIDATES

STATE Representative, DISTRICT 121

What they do: introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments, serve on committees

Celina Montoya, Democrat

About the candidate: small business owner

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Steve Allison, Republican

About the candidate: business attorney


CANDIDATES

STATE Representative, DISTRICT 122

What they do: introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments, serve on committees

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Lyle Larson, Republican

About the candidate: current State Representative

Claire Barnett, Democrat

About the candidate: educator


CANDIDATES

STATE Representative, DISTRICT 124

What they do: introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments, serve on committees

Ina Minjarez, Democrat

About the candidate: current State Representative

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Johnny Arredondo, Republican

About the candidate: college and high school basketball official


ballot measures

city of San Antonio proposition a

What it does: expands scope of future ballot referenda & lowers the threshold for signatures to 20,000 within 180 days

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A YES vote means: citizens may use the lower petition threshold to challenge city council decisions more easily and more often

Who says YES: SA Professional Firefighters Association

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A NO vote means: prevents a small minority from overturning city council decisions, disrupting community coalitions, and reallocating funds away from neighborhoods in need

Who says NO: Mayor Ron Nirenberg & Speaker Joe Straus


ballot measures

city of San Antonio proposition b

What it does: limits future City Manager employment to 8 years and salary to 10 times lowest paid full-time city employee

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A YES vote means: does not affect the current city manager. San Antonio becomes the only city in the nation to term limit an unelected city job. Lowers salary range of new city manager

Who says YES: SA Professional Firefighters Association

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A NO vote means: future city manager’s salary, bonuses, and employment length are managed by the city council

Who says NO: Mayor Ron Nirenberg & Representative Diego Bernal


ballot measures

city of San Antonio proposition c

What it does: binding arbitration for the International Association of Firefighters local 624 & City of San Antonio

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A YES vote means: disagreements between Firefighters Union leaders and City of San Antonio must go to an arbitrator, whose decision is binding and final. Does not apply to other unions

Who says YES: SA Professional Firefighters Association

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A NO vote means: both the City of San Antonio and Firefighters Union retain their right to sue

Who says NO: Mayor Ron Nirenberg


candidates

justice, 4th court of appeals, place 2

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Marialyn barnard, republican

No response

Beth Watkins, democrat

When we appear before a judge, it is often at the most critical times in our lives. Whether it’s a DWI charge, a probate matter after a parent’s death, or an employment discrimination case, we want judges who apply the law without regard to the color of our skin, the size of our bank account, or our political party. Inequality and bias can have real and devastating consequences in our courts. The only way to combat these threats is by voting.

CANDIDATES

Justice, 4TH Court of Appeals, Place 3

PATRICIA ALVAREZ, DEMOCRAT

Election of judges is significant to everyone because judges impact the administration of justice. Judges determine who will be in jail, who will inherit your property upon death, divorces and child support payments, whether your contract is valid, or who is the rightful owner of property. Most importantly, judges ensure that our constitutional rights are protected and upheld regardless of political affiliation or outside pressures. For these reasons, it is so important that voters know the judicial candidates and the experience, temperament and demeanor they will bring to the bench. Please know me!
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JASON PULLIAM, REPUBLICAN

No response


CANDIDATES

JUDGE, COUNTY PROBATE COURT NO. 1

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Kelly M. Cross, republican

No response

oscar kazen, democrat

‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’

Too many have died seeking the truth of those words…. Vote!

candidates

Justice, 4th Court of Appeals, Place 4

PATRICK BALLANTYNE, REPUBLICAN

An independent and impartial judiciary is critical to the future of Texas. Right now, our courts’ integrity is under threat by special interests seeking influence through their campaign contributions. If young Texans want a better society than the one they inherited, we need to end this reign of judicial patronage. The job of an appellate judge is to recognize injustice and set things right, not favor campaign donors. As a criminal prosecutor, I am not beholden to the special interests that threaten the independence and impartiality of our judiciary. I strongly believe public service is a calling, not a business venture.
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LUZ ELENA CHAPA, DEMOCRAT

No response


CANDIDATES

JUSTICE, 4TH COURT OF APPEALS, PLACE 5

rebecca simmoNS, REPUBLICAN

From traffic cases to divorce actions, most people will interact with the justice system several times over the course of their lives. Sometimes these encounters involve critical issues including incarceration, parental termination, divorce, and eviction. Texas incarcerates more young women than any other state, and men of color make up more than 2/3rds of those in Texas’ 109 facilities. Judges have the discretion to affect the outcomes of court cases - limited only by the appellate court that reviews her decisions. In Texas you can make a difference in the justice system by voting for experienced and impartial judges. VOTE
— Rebecca Simmons
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LIZA RODRIGUEZ, DEMOCRAT

No response


CANDIDATES

45TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT

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STEPHANI WALSH, REPUBLICAN

No response

MARY LOU ALVAREZ, DEMOCRAT

Unfortunately, all too often it feels like judicial elections are not seen as important in the minds of young Texans. Having seen firsthand the effect that our courts can have on individuals’ lives from a very young age, I am consistently disheartened by this. The courts are the branch of our government that young people are likeliest to come into contact with! That’s one of the reasons I find campaigning so fulfilling - having the opportunity to talk to community members about the judicial system and its importance is a key part of motivating voters to get involved.

CANDIDATES

144TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT

RAY J. OLIVARRI, democrat

I believe that it is important that young Texans be informed citizens, cognizant of the importance of their duties of civic responsibilities. The courthouse belongs to the citizen and those that are elected to the judiciary are responsible o the citizens they serve. At some point in the lives of every young Texan, their paths will inevitably intersect with a judicial or legal process in some capacity. Young Texans will want a judge who is fair and impartial, who upholds the law and treats everybody with dignity an respect.
— Ray J. Olivarri

Lorina Rummel, Republican

Young Texans will be working and living in Bexar county. They will be buying homes, living in our communities, going to our schools, paying taxes -everything that citizens do. When people look to move into a community, they want safe streets and good schools. I am a criminal District Court judge and my job is to uphold the state’s criminal laws. You need good judges to ensure safe communities in which to live and raise a family. We help ensure safe streets and healthy families. Those are issues important to young Texans and why they need to vote.

candidates

150th judicial district court

Renee Yanta, REPUBLICAN

Why are judicial elections important to young Texans? Some of the most profound life issues are decided by judges: which parent is the deepest nurturer of the children in custody disputes; which spouse should be awarded the house in a divorce; how to protect neglected or hurt children. So it really matters that we elect judges who have experience, know the la, and have shown a heart for serving hurt children and families. Also, judges have the opportunity to effect positive change. That’s why I created and administer PEARLS Court - so, with community volunteers, teen girls in Foster Care can heal, experience unconditional love, and become empowered.

Monique Diaz, Democrat

In my general law practice over the last 8 years, I’ve represented young parents fighting over the custody of their children, young victims of domestic violence, young consumers who have been taken advantage of, young students fighting unjust landlords, young entrepreneurs enforcing breached contracts, and young people arrested for crimes they didn’t commit - the lives of every one of them rested in the hands of a judge. Judges are our last line of defense. We want them to know where we’re coming from, to be compassionate, fair, impartial, and treat us with respect. That’s why judicial elections matter.

candidates

187th judicial district court

Stephanie R. Boyd, democrat

At some point in your life, you will be in a courtroom either as a victim, accused, witness, potential juror, or a support system to someone. It is important that you have a judge who follows the law, shows independence, compassion, fairness, and respect for all parties involved in the judicial process.

Karl Alexander, Republican

While not everyone will end up in court, judges keep us all safe by holding the guilty accountable, ordering treatment for the mentally ill or drug addicted, removing abused children from dangerous environments, and appropriately punishing violent and repeat offenders. Should you ever find yourself in court, judges protect you were various rights. Judges ensure parental, property, victim, and constitutional rights are upheld. Judges also provide a chance at redemption in rehabilitation when good people make bad choices by crafting appropriate consequences. Finally, judges serve as the last check on over-reaching by the government.

225th judicial district court

PETER SAKAI, DEMOCRAT

Judges directly impact the lives of individuals, like you, in many ways such as the criminal justice system, child welfare, family law, and civil dispute cases.

The judicial system is the third branch of government. The judges are the only checks and balances on the executive and legislative branches of government.

Judges have the power to make a difference in their community through judicial leadership to insure principles of restorative justice, to convene community leaders to problem solve issues, and to advocate for the administration of justice to make a more just and fair society.

candidates

226th judicial district court

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Velia J. Meza, Democrat

Judicial elections are important to young Texans because most young Texans decide to live, work, and play here post-graduation, and our judges make the call on who may reenter society and who needs rehabilitation. Electing judges whose principles align with your own matters. As judge of the 226th, you can count on me to make the fair decision for our society every time.

Todd McCray, Republican

Our legal system is based upon the principle that independent, competent judges will interpret and apply laws fairly and impartially and based upon the rule of law. Young Texans should vote for judges who are experienced and competent in their field of law and will treat all citizens, including young Texans, fairly and impartially and independently of party affiliation or politics. A good judge will be patient, dignified and courteous to everyone who appears in the courtroom. Judicial values matter. #judicialvaluesmatte [sic]

candidates

285th judicial district court

Richard Price, republican

When there is so much at stake, you rely on the Judicial System to address your case. You rely on a Judge’s experience and knowledge to make decisions based on the law. It is important for each voter to know the judicial candidates to insure the Courts have qualified Judges working hard for the Community. Experience, Legal Knowledge, and the candidate’s Involvement in the Community are revealing qualities. Judge Richard Price has received a Grade A and above consistently in Judicial Polls for his demonstrated Experience, Legal Knowledge, Good Temperament, Hard Work, and Punctuality. Experience is PRICEless!
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Aaron Haas, Democrat

No response


candidates

288th judicial district court

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clint Lawson, Republican

No response

Cynthia marie chapa, democrat

Judicial elections are important to young Texans because it is the courts that make rulings on laws that can directly affect their lives. Whether through ruling dealing with the family, adoptions, child visitations or child support. If you were in an accident and ended up before the court — you want someone in office that is compassionate, fair, empathetic, who can be stern if necessary and who has the right temperament. Judges should have a commitment to serve their community and should not seek the post for title or position.

290th Judicial district Court

Melissa Skinner, REPUBLICAN

The 290th judicial District Court is a court with jurisdiction over serious felony offenses such as capital murder, murder, sexual assault, burglaries, as well as drug cases and enhanced misdemeanors. As a young person, or an old person, The criminal justice system will eventually affect you in some significant way. When it does, it is essential that you have experienced judges to know when a person is a threat to you and your community, or, a person who can be rehabilitated. Experience will matter when it is your safety at issue. I urge you to carefully consider the importance of the courts in your life.
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JENNIFER PEÑA, DEMOCRAT

No response


CANDIDATES

COUNTY COURT AT LAW 4

JASON GARRAHAN, REPUBLICAN

The main reason [why young Texans should vote in judicial races] is the judicial benches are the backbone of the judicial system. The system needs ethical and experienced judges, not political mudslingers following a political agenda. Judges need to follow the law and not politics. These elections give the present citizens of Texas and generations to come the opportunity to give future Texans a judicial system and judges that are fair, ethical, and impartial. Lady Justice wears a blindfold; hence the judicial system should remain impartial and follow the law. Elections allow all of us to be heard and say by our vote, we want justice not politics.
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Alfredo ximenez, democrat

No response


CANDIDATES

COUNTY COURT AT LAW 5

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John amos longoria, democrat

No response

JULIE PATTERSon, republican

As a local criminal defense attorney, I represent many young adults arrested for small crimes such as DWI, possession of marijuana, theft and assault cases. Many of these arrests are the first time a person has ever been arrested. As judge, my goal is make sure that these first arrests are given the opportunity to clear their record so has not to hurt them in the future. Certainly, consequences are important for poor decisions, but not ones that harm a person 5, 10, 20 years down the road. Young Texans need judges that care about their future. As a mother of two teen sons, I care. Of note, I am from San Antonio, and attended the University of Texas School of Law. I have been licensed for 22 years and am endorsed by the San Antonio Police Officers Association and the Bexar County Adult Probation Officer’s Association. I ask for your vote!

candidates

bexar county court at law 9

Gloria Saldaña, Democrat

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said: ‘Our Constitution is celebrated as the backbone of our democracy. But our Constitution cannot survive without fair and free courts — courts free from improper political interference or pressure from special interests.’ Judges’ rulings can have a real-life impact on your financial health and social relationships. Courts are required to provide due process or “the right to be heard.” Thinks your right to speak up and defend our constitutional rights and rule fairly and equitably. Because they are elected, your vote is important. It provides accountability and enables election of judges representative of the community they serve. The determinations made by judges can have long-term personal consequences. The courts can significantly affect future employment, health, education and other important relationships.
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Walden Shelton, Republican

No response


BEXAR COUNTY COURT AT LAW 10

J. FRANK DAVIS, DEMOCRAT

In many other states, judges are chosen by a Governor or a state board. This leads to concerns of party dominance and influence by special interests. These issues are best avoided by allowing the citizens whose lives may be affected by a judge to have a voice in that judge’s selection. By voting in judicial elections going Texans can use their voice to elect a judiciary that shares their values and brings balance back to Texas.
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KAREN CROUCH, REPUBLICAN

No response


candidates

bexar county court at law 11

Tommy Stolhandske, Republican

Judicial elections are extremely important to all Texans. Judges are the elected officials most likely to make a direct impact on your life. Although judges in Texas are elected in partisan elections, we rarely hear cases involving political issues. In fact it is our job to apply the law, not to make it. Young Texans should develop a habit of researching candidates for judicial races and choosing those who will best make the decisions that could potentially affect the rest of your lives.

CANDIDATES

BEXAR COUNTY COURT AT LAW 12

Yolanda Huff, democrat

Judicial elections are important to young Texans because the majority of offenders that come before County Courts are between the ages of 17 to 24. Once a defendant has a criminal conviction on their record it effects [sic] their ability to get a job, housing, and edication. How judges carry out sentences is very important. Justice must be tempered with mercy.
— Yolanda Huff
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scott Roberts, republican

No response


candidates

bexar county court at law 13

crystal chandler, republican

Judges are elected and accountable to the voters, all voters, regardless of age, or any other identifier. As a criminal family violence court judge, I have worked to protect victims by ensuring that law enforcement has access to orders of protection and implemented policies requiring the surrender of firearms in violent cases. I also noticed that young people on probation are frequently overlooked in our system, which is why I created an innovative initiative (Young Adult Aggression Re-Direction or “YAARD”) that seems to assist young people so they can successfully complete their probation and get their lives back on track.

rosie gonzalez, democrat

Judicial elections are important to everyone. The need for counsel does not discriminate based on age. Having an insensitive, indifferent or prosecutorial judge on the bench can lead to rulings that set the trajectory of life for a young person. It is important that voters research judicial candidates and vote for candidates that can relate to and understand their plight and struggle in navigating the judicial system. It is imperative that you elect those most sympathetic to your station in life, receptive to listening to your version of the facts and not simply dismiss you because of your age.

CANDIDATES

BEXAR COUNTY COURT AT LAW 14

SUSAN SKINNER, republican

Voting in local elections is the most powerful way to influence policies directly affecting you. That is especially true for judicial elections. Electing the best judges is critical to ensuring that our criminal justice system works properly - a system that touches so many lives. Your vote matters. There are more than 75 million millennials. If you come out in force and vote, you represent a powerful constituency capable of producing real change. But, if you stay home, you surrender that opportunity and, in the process, you let down those from past generations who fought for our right to vote.
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Carlo key, democrat

No response


candidates

Bexar County Court at Law 15

Melissa Vara, Democrat

Local politics like the judicial races are so important because they impact young Texans directly in one form or another, whether it is a DWI in criminal court or an auto accident claim in District Court. Therefore, it is important that the people young Texans choose to elect not only have the qualifications to be judge, but that they also embody a level of compassion and understanding for all. As a young Texan myself, I bring a fresh perspective to the bench that will hopefully motivate other young Texans to be engaged in the political process.
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bob Behrens, republican

No response


CANDIDATES

BEXAR COUNTY PROBATE COURT #2

VERONICA VASQUEZ, DEMOCRAT

The courts affect every life, even if you do not commit a crime. For example, the office that I seek, Bexar County Probate Court #2, touches every life in our county. This court has jurisdiction over probating wills and estates. This means that if you die with any property your loved ones will have to come before this court to receive your assets. It also has jurisdiction to hear the mental health docket, this includes involuntary commitments and guardianships for incapacitated individuals and eminent domain. Due to the seriousness of these matters, it is crucial that whoever is elected treats everyone with compassion, respect, and dignity.
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Julie hardaway, republican

No response