Some voting district lines are still being drawn as officials prepare for March Primaries in midterm elections.
For Wharton County voters, the next ballot should look significantly different with redistricting shifting the area away from Lois Kolkhorst’s State Senate District 18 and out of Congressman Michael Cloud’s District 27. For the next vote, the incumbents to be considered are respectively: Joan Huffman, R-Houston, in District 17 which covers sections of surrounding counties gerrymandering into Houston and north of Katy; and Troy Nehls in District 22 which stretches east from Wharton County into Rosenberg, Katy, Pearland and Alvin.
Huffman has no Republican challengers. Two Democrats, Titus Benton, a nonprofit executive, and Miguel Gonzalez, seek the nomination in that primary.
Nehls will be challenged by Gregory Jonathan Thorne, a tax consultant, for the Republican nomination. Democrat Jamie Kaye Jordan is the lone person seeking the post in that primary.
Only District 85, held by Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, remains among the three major local voice posts although its boundaries shift dramatically, dropping Jackson County in favor of Colorado, Fayette, Austin and Waller counties.
Stephenson will face challenges from Art Hernandez, Stan Kitzman and Fred Roberts in his own party’s primary. The winner there will either square off in a May 24 run-off or go directly to the November General Election to face Democrat Larry Baggett.
Early voting is currently set to start Feb. 14 and run through Feb. 25 with Election Day set for Tuesday, March 1.
“I have not heard anything about postponing the Primary because of redistricting challenges,” Wharton County Elections Administrator Cindy Richter said.
That’s a change from the 2012 March Primaries which weren’t held until late May as a result of redistricting challenges.
“I have been working on redistricting changes for at least a month,” Richter said, but added the fact Wharton County lets its voters cast ballots at any open polling location will help minimize confusion. “Some voters may be surprised that they are in a different precinct, but they should not be inconvenienced.”
Those who want to cast ballots in the upcoming March Primaries have until Monday, Jan. 31 to register. In Primaries, a voter must pick which party’s ballot they wish to consider at the poll. Only candidates in that party can be considered. During the November General Election, voters can cast ballots across party lines if they so chose.
Also on the horizon is the May 2022 election which will decide El Campo’s mayor, whether a new aerial ladder will be purchases, four at-large district posts and charter amendments along with the potential for school district posts.
El Campo city leaders haven’t presented their proposed redistricting maps yet.
Public hearings are anticipated after that as expectations are for all four districts to change slightly.
“I should receive the City of El Campo changes in plenty of time for the May 7, 2022 City School election,” Richter said.
The City of Wharton and Wharton County have already completed redistricting processes.