Early voting for the March 3 Primary elections begins Tuesday and ends Friday, Feb. 28. There are a total of 52 polling locations in Harris County that will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day except for Sunday, Feb. 23, which will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be Democratic and Republican polls at all voting sites. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff May 26. 

Closest polling locations include:

• Baytown Community Center, 2407 Market Street

• Crosby Branch Library, 135 Hare Road at Kimberley Drive, Crosby

For more, visit harrisvotes.com

Chambers County

Early voting in Chambers County for the Primary Elections is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and then from Feb. 24 to 28 at all locations. 

The early voting locations are: 

• Main Branch Conference Room, Chambers County Courthouse Annex, 2128 Highway 61 in Anahuac.

• Winnie Branch Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 Courtroom, East Chambers County Courthouse Annex, 211 Broadway Ave.

• Mont Belvieu Branch County Clerk’s Office, West Chambers County Courthouse Annex, 10616 Eagle Drive in Mont Belvieu. 

• Cedar Bayou Branch Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6 Courtroom, Cedar Bayou Community Building 7711 Highway 146 in Baytown.

GOP congressman has challenger in primary

By Michael Pineda

michael.pineda@baytownsun.com

Voters will begin the process of selecting representation for the 36th District of Congress Tuesday with the start of early voting. Incumbent Congressman Brian Babin has drawn an opponent in RJ Boatman as both men offer themselves up as the most conservative candidate to constituents. 

Babin, a dentist from Woodville, was first elected in 2014 after Steve Stockman did not seek re-election. 

Boatman is a business owner from Clear Lake City.

District 36 includes most of southeast Texas except for Jefferson County (Beaumont area). It extends slightly into the Houston metro area surrounding the north end of Galveston Bay, including Baytown, neighboring towns, part of Pasadena and the Clear Lake area of Houston.

Babin lists a number of conservative groups under endorsements and sets an agenda inline with much of President Trump’s goals. Boatman states he is proud to stand with Trump and is looking forward to helping him win re-election in 2020. 

Both men support building a wall along the southern border and securing the nation’s borders against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Both men are against high taxes and wasteful spending. They are pro-life and support the Bill of Rights. 

Babin does list strengthening the military as a priority. He also places a focus on reforming the Department of Veteran Affairs. 

Babin also said he is committed to ensuring the federal government fulfills its promises to those who have built their retirement around Social Security and Medicare. 

US Sen. Ted Cruz is currently fighting for term limits. Babin does not list term limits among his priorities. Boatman is in support of candidates who believe serving in Congress should be a calling, not a career, and will seek to limit their own term. 

Babin lists advancing the space program among his priorities. He is a chairman on a House Space Subcommittee and committed to reestablishing America’s space program as a leader in exploration. 

6 vying for Dem nomination in Harris Co.Pct. 3 Constable race

By Mark Fleming

mark.fleming@baytownsun.com

One of the most hotly contested local primary races — at least judging by the number of people running—is for Harris County Precinct 3 Constable. 

Administratively based in the Harris County Courthouse Annex on Baker Road in Baytown, the Precinct 3 constable provides much of the local law enforcement coverage for the unincorporated areas of northeast Harris County, including McNair, Highlands, Barrett Station, Crosby and Channelview.

Andre Hines is the lone candidate in the Republican primary for the office, which has long been held by Democrats.

On the Democratic side of the primary, six people are competing to face Hines in the November General Election:

• Sherman Eagleton (incumbent). Eagleton was elected to the office in 2016 after a long career as a deputy in Precinct 3.

• Deborah Florus. Florus has served in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office since 1990, first in the jail then in various assignments, including patrol in northeast Harris County.

• Ken Jones. Jones was Precinct 3 Constable from 1999 until 2016, when he chose not to seek re-election. He had already served in the office for many years as a deputy and captain.

• Michel (Poppy) Pappillion. Pappillion was a candidate for the constable position in 2016, ending in a runoff with Eagleton.

• John Jay “JP” Portillo. Portillo is a patrol deputy constable.

• Eric Reed. Reed has served as a Harris County deputy sheriff since 1994.

If none of the six win more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff between the two who received the most votes.

Early voting for the March 3 primary begins today.

If there is a runoff election, it will be May 26, with early voting starting May 18.

 Chambers Co. commissioner faces 3 in Republican primary

 By Matt Hollis

matt.hollis@baytownsun.com

There are four Republican candidates running for Pct. 3 Chambers County commissioner in the March 3 primary election. 

One is incumbent Gary Nelson. He first filed to be the Pct. 3 Commissioner in 2015 to run for the expired term of then-Commissioner Buddy Irby. He went on to defeat then-Mont Belvieu Councilman Cecil Parker in 2016 with 64 % of the vote.  

Nelson won again in 2008. For the 2012 and 2016 elections, Nelson had no opponent. 

This year, he has three challengers in the Republican primary. One challenger is Ricky Shelton, a current councilmember for the City of Mont Belvieu. His current term expires in May. Shelton has worked for Barbers Hill ISD and has served as the Lions Club president. 

James Farrell is another candidate. Farrell served for many years as Mont Belvieu’s Parks and Recreation director and served on the Barbers Hill ISD Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2009. In 2013, he re-joined the to fill in Carmena Goss’ term. 

Tommy Hammond, longtime Chambers County resident, is also running for the seat. 

Early voting for the primaries begins today and runs through Thursday and picks up again Feb. 24 through 28. 

Texas and Super Tuesday

OK, Texans. You get to help choose  nominees for president the U.S. Senate, in either Democratic or Republican primary elections – but not both.

The actual primary election day is March 3, but early voting starts today and lasts through Friday, Feb. 28. 

In Texas, there is no prior registration by party. You signify which party you favor by voting in their primary election. Independents are free to vote in either party’s primary, or wait until the general election in November.

If you vote in one party’s primary March 3, or in early voting, you are limited to voting in likely May 26 runoffs in only that party. If you do not vote in the first primary, you are free to vote in either major party’s runoff election.

And in the general election, you can vote for whomever you want, regardless of which primary you participated in.

The Libertarian Party will choose its nominees for the Nov. 3 election in their convention, April 16-19, in McAllen. 

The Democratic primary contests for president and the U.S. Senate are significantly more crowded than the Republican primary, because the incumbents in both those offices – Donald Trump and John Cornyn are Republicans, who are expected to win easily.

In the Democratic primary for president, there are 17 candidates on the ballot, compared to seven for the Republicans. For senate, Democrats have 12 candidates; Republicans have five.

In the Democratic senate primary, it’s doubtful anyone will get a majority. That would bring a runoff between the top two, on May 26.

In the Democratic presidential primary,  the percentages for each candidate will be reported. No candidate is likely to win a majority. But unlike the senate primaries, there will be no runoff. 

The 149 delegates assigned to the 31 state senate districts will be divided from two to 10 delegates per district, based on their turnouts for Democrats in the 2016 presidential race and 2018 governor’s race. 

Candidates need at least 15 percent in a district to qualify for delegates, and 15 percent statewide to qualify for at-large delegates.

If after the primary elections no candidate has the 1,991 pledged delegates necessary to win the nomination outright, the winner will be chosen at the Democratic National Convention this summer – July 13-16 – in Milwaukee, WI. 

The Republican convention is Aug. 24-27, in Charlotte, NC.

Here alphabetically are the candidates for president and senate:

(The seven who dropped out too late to be struck from the ballot are marked with an asterisk*.)

Democrats for president: 

Michael Bennet*

Joseph R. Biden

Michael R. Bloomberg

Cory Booker*

Pete Buttigieg

Julián Castro*

Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente

John K. Delaney*

Tulsi Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

Deval Patrick*

Bernie Sanders

Tom Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

Robby Wells

Marianne Williamson*

Andrew Yang*

Republicans for president: 

Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente Guerra

Zoltan G. Istvan

Matthew John Matern

Bob Ely

Donald J. Trump (Incumbent) 

Joe Walsh

Bill Weld

(Democratic presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente is the son of Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente Guerra, who is on the Republican presidential ballot. Apparently, it’s a stunt.)

Democrats for U.S. Senate:

Chris Bell

Michael Cooper

Amanda K. Edwards

Jack Daniel Foster Jr. (Anahuac!)

Annie “Mama” Garcia

Victor Hugo Harris

Mary “MJ” Hegar

Sema Hernandez

D. R. Hunter

Adrian Ocegueda

Cristina Tzinztún Ramirez

Royce West

Republicans for U.S. Senate:

Virgil Bierschwale

John Anthony Castro

John Cornyn (Incumbent)  

Dwayne Stovall

Mark Yancey

Texas Poll

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders doubled his 12 percent support in October to 24 percent in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, while Joe Biden went from 23 in October to 22 in February. 

The field has changed somewhat since October. Beto O’Rourke, who got 14 percent then, wasn’t included in the latest poll. 

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spending way more on ads in Super Tuesday states than probably all other candidates combined, was added, and got 10 percent. 

Here are candidates’ numbers, with February percentages first, and October’s in parentheses:

• Bernie Sanders – 24 (12)

• Joe Biden – 22 (23)

• Elizabeth Warren – 15 (18)

• Michael Bloomberg  - 10 (NA)

• Pete Buttigeig - 7 (6)

• Andrew Yang – 6 (4)

• Amy Klobuchar – 3 (2)

• Tom Steyer – 3 (NA)

• Tulsi Gabbard – 2 (2)

A slight majority of Texans – 52 percent – said they would not vote for Trump. But in head-to-head competition with each of the Democratic candidates, Trump beat them all by single digits.

Contact Texas political writer Dave McNeely at davemcneely111@gmail.com.

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