McLennan sheriff, Dist. 56 contested


Saturday opened the monthlong candidate filing period for the March primaries, marking an official start for several McLennan County races that will share the ballot with higher profile matchups, including presidential contests.

McLennan County voters will weigh in March 5 on their parties’ picks to run in the Nov. 5 general election for both the Texas House seats representing the area, along with two county commissioner seats, the tax assessor-collector and several district judge positions.

Candidate filling will continue through Dec. 11. The last day to register to vote in time for the primaries is Feb. 5. Early voting will start Feb. 20.

District 56

Texas House District 56 is set to be a wide-open race since Republican incumbent Charles “Doc” Anderson announced in September he will retire at the end of his term, after 20 years in the position. As of Monday, two Republicans and a Democrat have announced their intentions to run for the seat.

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Erin Shank, a local bankruptcy lawyer and former teacher, announced her candidacy for the seat earlier this month. Shank ran against Anderson in 2022 as the Democratic nominee, garnering only 29.8% of the vote in the solidly red district. A self-described centrist, Shank said she has learned much from the last race, and plans to run on a platform focused on fixing issues on border security and maintaining protections against pollution from dairy farms along the Bosque River, Waco’s main drinking water source.

Pat Curry, a local businessman, first announced his intention to challenge Anderson in September, only two days before Anderson announced his retirement. Running as a Republican, Curry said he decided to run in order to get “lawyers out of Austin” and get a fresh face with new ideas into office with a platform also focused on border security and Bosque River pollution.

Curry said his experience as a business leader will transition well to leading in the Legislature. Curry was highly involved in the revitalization of Central Freight Lines in the 1990s and has been the owner of Rabroker Air Conditioning and Plumbing, and Miracle-Ear Hearing Aid Centers.

Devvie Duke, former president of the McLennan County Republican Women and member of the State Republican Executive Committee for the Republican Party, first announced her candidacy last month. Duke has been endorsed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and said her experience in local Republican leadership, often spent traveling to Austin to testify on pending bills, will translate well to representing Central Texans and getting conservative legislation passed in the House.

District 13

As of Monday, only incumbent Angelia Orr, R-Itasca, has announced intentions to run for the Texas House District 13 seat. Orr was elected in 2022 with 77.5% of the vote in the newly-created House District 13, which includes Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill and Limestone counties, as well as parts of McLennan County.

Bellmead, Robinson, East Waco, parts of downtown Waco and some parts of the neighborhoods surrounding Baylor University are in Orr’s district.


McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara first announced in January his intentions to run for reelection of the post he has held since 2012. Prior to becoming sheriff, McNamara worked for the U.S. Marshals Service for 33 years and comes from a family with a long history in Texas law enforcement.

Jeff Aguirre, a former sheriff’s office deputy and current anti-gang investigator with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office, announced his intentions to challenge McNamara in March for the Republican nomination for sheriff. Aguirre has spent 25 years in various law enforcement positions, including several years spent in Afghanistan as an international police liaison and advisor with a company that contracted with the U.S. Department of Defense. Since 2022, he has assisted the DA’s office with murder investigations and gang-related criminal cases.

19th state district judge

Judge Thomas West first announced his intentions to run for reelection last month. A Republican, West first won the judge post for Waco’s 19th State District Court in 2020. According to his campaign website, he has disposed of more than 4,000 felony cases since taking office, including about 60 jury trials.

74th state district judge

Judge Gary Coley, a Republican, confirmed Monday he intends to run for reelection as judge of Waco’s 74th State District Court, a post he has held since 2008. The 74th Court mainly oversees civil and family cases.

474th state district judge

Judge Alan Bennett, a Republican, confirmed Monday he will run to keep his position in the first election for Waco’s 474th State District Court. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Bennett in December 2022 as the first judge for the newly created court, which mainly oversees juvenile and Child Protective Services cases.

Precinct 1

Precinct 1 McLennan County Commissioner Jim Smith, a Republican, filed Saturday to run for reelection. Smith has held the Precinct 1 commissioner post, which represents South Waco and Robinson, since 2020.

Precinct 3

Precinct 3 McLennan County Commissioner Will Jones, a Republican, filed Saturday to run for reelection. Jones has held the post since 2012. Precinct 3 makes up much of the northwest corner of the county, including West and parts of Bellmead and Lacy Lakeview, as well as the areas surrounding Lake Waco.

Tax assessor-collector

McLennan County Tax Assessor-Collector Randy Riggs, a Republican, filed Saturday to run for re-election. Riggs has held the post since 2012.

Republican analyst Amy Koch and Democratic analyst Abou Amara share their insights on next year’s election.


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