Voters wait in line at Bassett Place on the first day of early voting in El Paso. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Candidate filings for the March 2022 Democratic and Republican primaries closed Monday and El Paso voters will see a few competitive local races for county commissioner and Texas House seats.

The March 1 primaries also feature major statewide races, including for Texas governor, a race former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke joined last month.

Early voting for the primaries begins Feb. 14; the final day to register to vote in is Jan. 31.

Federal

Two-term U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, faces Deliris Montanez Berrios in the Democratic primary for the 16th Congressional District. Irene Armendariz Jackson is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Armendariz Jackson lost to Escobar in the 2020 general election.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, is running unopposed in the Republican primary for the 23rd Congressional District, which covers parts of Fort Bliss and southeast El Paso County. The Navy veteran in November will face one of the two Democrats who have filed: social worker Priscilla Golden and retired Marine John Lira of San Antonio.

State

Incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott faces multiple Republican primary challengers as he seeks a third term in office. The most notable are former Dallas state Sen. Don Huffines and former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West. Other challengers include: Paul Belew, a defense attorney; Danny Harrison, a landscape business owner; Kandy Kaye Horn, a Houston philanthropist; and Rick Perry, a computer technician, who is not the former governor.

O’Rourke, who is vying to unseat Abbott, faces three challengers in the Democratic primary: Inocencio “Inno” Barrientez, a retiree; Michael Cooper, a Beaumont pastor and automotive executive; and Joy Diaz, a former public radio reporter and fill-in host for “Texas Standard.”

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick faces three Republican primary challengers as he seeks a third term leading the Texas Senate: Trayce Bradford, a longtime leader of conservative groups; Daniel Miller, a technology consultant; and Aaron Sorrells, a business owner.

Democrat Mike Collier, a Houston accountant who came within 5 percentage points of unseating Patrick in 2018, is again running for lieutenant governor. Also running in the Democratic primary is two-term North Texas state Rep. Michelle Beckley.

Incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton drew multiple well-known opponents for the Republican primary in his bid for a third term. George P. Bush, the current Texas land commissioner; Eva Guzman, a former Texas Supreme Court justice; and East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert will try to unseat Paxton in the Republican primary.

Four Democrats entered the attorney general race: Rochelle Garza, a former American Civil Liberties Union attorney who successfully sued former President Donald Trump’s administration to secure an abortion for a detained migrant teenager; Houston attorney Mike Fields; former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski; and Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents families of Black people killed by police, both in Texas and across the nation.

Other statewide races on the March primary ballot include: agriculture commissioner, land office commissioner, a seat on the Railroad Commission; and multiple Texas Supreme Court and Texas appeals court justice seats.

El Paso legislative delegation and State Board of Education

El Paso’s sole state senator, César Blanco, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for Texas Senate District 29, which covers El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties.

State Reps. Lina Ortega and Joe Moody also did not draw Democratic opponents for their respective Texas House District 77 and District 78 seats. Ortega, Moody and Blanco face no Republican challengers for these races.

Incumbent state Rep. Mary González will face former Socorro City Councilman Rene Rodriguez in the House District 75 Democratic primary. There are no GOP challengers for this seat.

Incumbent state Reps. Art Fierro and Claudia Ordaz Perez will meet in House District 79’s Democratic primary after Ordaz Perez decided to challenge him rather than Ortega. The Texas Legislature redrew Ortega’s district to include much of Ordaz Perez’s current territory. There also aren’t any GOP challengers in this race.

House District 74 incumbent state Rep. Eddie Morales, D-Eagle Pass, whose seat now includes parts of northeast El Paso County, will not face a Democratic challenger, but will face Republican Katherine Parker of Alpine in November’s general election.

Incumbent State Board of Education District 1 Rep. Georgina Pérez did not file for reelection in the Democratic primary. District 1 covers 40 West Texas counties, including El Paso. Democratic filers include Laura Márquez, a developmental disabilities policy fellow at Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center; Melissa Ortega, a University of Texas at El Paso professor and a former candidate for the Socorro school board; and Omar Yanar, CEO of El Paso Leadership Academy charter school. Michael Travis Stevens, the sole Republican filer, is an English Language Arts Instructional Coach at Northside Independent School District.

Local

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego is running unopposed in the primaries for a second term. Guadalupe Giner has said she will run against him as an independent, but will not be placed on the ballot until the general election.

Incumbent El Paso County Commissioner David Stout, who represents Precinct 2, will face Democratic opponents Judy Gutierrez and political newcomer Carlos Soto. No Republicans filed for that race.

Gutierrez unsuccessfully ran against District 2 city Rep. Alexsandra Annello in the 2020 general election. Gutierrez was assistant/chief of staff to the city’s last four District 2 representatives, including Annello. Soto is listed as a business owner.

Incumbent Precinct 4 County Commissioner Carl Robinson will face two Democratic opponents and four Republicans.

Sergio Coronado, a longtime Canutillo Independent School District trustee, who unsuccessfully ran for county judge in 2010, will challenge Robinson in the Democratic primary. So will Dorothy “Sissy” Byrd, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council’s District 4 seat in 2020.

Blanca Trout, another Canutillo ISD trustee, who unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for the 16th Congressional District in 2018, filed for the Republican primary. She’s joined by political newcomers David Adams, Adam Fatuch and Victor Navarette.

Other contested local races on the Democratic March primary ballot include El Paso County District Clerk, and various county court-at-law, probate court and justice of the peace seats. Only the Precinct 7 Justice of the Court race will see Republican and Democratic challengers.

Elida S. Perez contributed to this story.

Cover photo: Voters wait in line at Bassett Place on the first day of early voting in El Paso during the 2020 general election. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014, with...