Here’s a look at some of the interesting 2024 races
By Austin Sanders, 7:20PM, Thu. Dec. 14, 2023
The March 2024 primary is shaping up with candidate filing closed as of Dec. 12.
Travis County remains a deeply blue county, so much of the competition in our local elections is concentrated in the Democratic primary contest, set for March 5, 2024. Candidates who win the primary will be strongly favored to win the Nov. 5 general election.
The Travis County Democratic Party website has the full list of candidates who filed an application to run. Note the disclaimer: Some applications are still under review and that process will not be completed until tomorrow, Dec. 15.
Travis County District Attorney José Garza has a challenger: Jeremy Sylestine, who worked for 15 years as an assistant D.A. in Travis County before departing shortly after Garza was sworn in. Garza unseated former D.A. Margaret Moore in a landslide in 2020 and he will likely be a formidable opponent with broad establishment support in 2024, but the political landscape around law enforcement accountability through the criminal courts has shifted since then. Sylestine will need to capitalize on that to stand a chance.
Travis County Commissioners Jeff Travillion and Ann Howard did not draw opponents, nor did Travis County Attorney Delia Garza, and Sheriff Sally Hernandez will again face off against John Loughran, one of the candidates she trounced in 2020. On the congressional side, U.S. Reps. Greg Casar and Lloyd Doggett (representing districts 35 and 37, respectively), did not draw primary opponents, according to the Texas Secretary of State website.
Many of Travis County’s judicial incumbents will also be unopposed, with a couple of exceptions. A three-way race to replace Nick Chu as Justice of the Peace in Pct. 5 is set: Tanisa Jeffers and Ornela DeSeta will challenge incumbent Rick Olivo, who was appointed earlier this year when Chu departed to run a newly created probate court (Chu’s unopposed in that race). And in the 353rd District Court, incumbent Madeleine Connor – who was declared a “vexatious litigant” in 2018 and 2019 – will defend her seat against two challengers (Susana Castillo and Sherine Thomas) after her shocking upset of Tim Sulak, who held the bench since 2010.
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