BELTON — Nearly 30 years ago, there was only one Republican elected in Bell County. Now it’s reversed, with only a single Democrat elected here.
As the 2018 election approaches, it looks like the GOP will continue to dominate Bell County politics.
Monday evening, 27 Republican candidates filed for their spot on the March 6 primary ballot. The filing period ends Dec. 11.
Nancy Boston, chairman of the Republican Party of Bell County, is ecstatic about the slate of candidates her party will field in March. She said it has taken Republicans a lot of hard work to become the ruling political of the county.
Here’s a look at who has filed to run for the Republican primary:
Bell County judge: With Temple Economic Development Corporation. David Blackburn filing Monday night, it looks like he may succeed Jon Burrows as Bell County judge, the top elected official here. No one — Republican or Democrat — has filed to challenge Blackburn for county judge.
Blackburn, a first-time candidate and a former Temple city manager, noted that his background working in municipal government across Bell County and the state makes him “uniquely qualified” for county judge.
Bell County clerk: Bell County Clerk Shelley Coston filed her paperwork to be a candidate next year. Coston has served as county clerk since 2007.
“It has been the ride of a lifetime,” said Coston, the first Republican to serve as county clerk. “I’ve enjoyed many successes but there is still a lot to do.”
Bell County treasurer: Gaylon Evans and Jeannette Compean, both employees of Bell County, filed their candidacies to succeed 36-year incumbent Treasure Charles Jones, who will not seek re-election.
264th District Court judge: Four lawyers filed Monday evening in hopes to succeed retiring Judge Martha Trudo. Belton lawyer Paul LePak, Temple lawyer Jeff Parker, Killeen lawyer Steve Duskie and Assistant Bell County Attorney Randy Dale are vying to be the next judge of the 264th District Court.
169th District Court judge: Judge Gordon Adams will seek one final term to serve on the 169th District Court.
Texas House District 55: Incumbent state Rep. Hugh Shine is the only District 55 candidate, so far, to file. Calvary Chapel Rev. Brandon Hall, who did not attend the GOP filing event, is expected to challenge Shine in March.
Texas House District 54: While state Rep. Scott Cosper of Killeen did not file Monday evening in Belton, he said he filed for re-election earlier in the day at the Republican Party of Texas’ headquarters in Austin.
Unlike Shine’s opponent, Cosper’s challenger, Killeen veterinarian Brad Buckley filed Monday evening with the local party.
“I’m not a career politician or a career candidate,” Buckley said to the courtroom brimming with Republicans.
County courts at law: All three judges of the county courts at law filed for re-election Monday evening.
“I’m asking for one more four-year term,” said Jeanne Parker, County Court at Law No. 1 judge.
County Court at Law No. 2 Judge John Mischtian and County Court at Law No. 3 Judge Rebecca DePew also filed their respective re-election bids.
District clerk: Freshman District Clerk Joanna Staton filed for her second term.
Bell County Commissioners Court: Precinct 2 Commissioner Tim Brown filed for his seventh and final term. Brown has two challengers, who filed Monday. Harker Heights banker Bobby Whitson and Salado resident Brit Owen filed their candidacies.
Precinct 4 Commissioner John Fisher also filed his re-election bid with the Republican Party. He said he is glad he currently doesn’t have an opponent and hoped his fellow Republicans gathered at the courthouse keep it that way.
“I’m running for my fifth and my wife says my final term,” Fisher said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
Justices of the peace: Ted Duffield, justice of the peace for Precinct 1, filed for re-election, telling the audience he is asking the voters for a seventh term. Duffield will face Lou Griffin, a sergeant with the Killeen Police Department, in March.
“I want to come home from the west side of the county and work here,” Griffin said.
Three candidates filed to be the next JP of Precinct 2: Businessman and former Houston police officer Cliff Coleman, former Temple police Detective Richard Sapp and Salado resident Jackie Burson, who did not attend the filing event.
Justices of the Peace G.W. Ivey — who serves on the JP Precinct 3, Place 2 spot — and Bill Cooke — who sits as the Precinct 4, Place 2 judge — filed and are currently uncontested.