By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

Tuesday morning saw the late, but expected, addition of the Democratic nominee into the special election pool, joining his Republican counterpart, who made an announcement of his own Tuesday morning.

House District 55 Democratic nominee Sam Murphey announced Tuesday morning that he will run for the special election Nov. 4, which covers the two-month span between the general election and the swearing in of new officers.

The special election came after the sudden retirement July 31 of Dianne White Delisi, who held the seat 18 years.

Republican nominee Ralph Sheffield acted immediately on the possibility of a special election, announcing Aug. 1 before the date had been set that it was his intention to run for the special election as well.

Voters will have to vote for the District 55 representative twice on Nov. 4, but the one at the top is not the most important. The special election for District 55 will be the first thing on the ballot, even higher than the presidential race.

Murphey and Sheffield are now decidedly determined to win both the special election and the general election. But at the end of the day, both are treating the two-year term as the real prize; the special election will be little more than a footnote. Both treat the importance of it similarly.

"The bottom line is nothing has changed," Sheffield said in a press release earlier this month. "The focus of my campaign will not be diluted by this special election. The only difference will be the District 55 state representative race will appear twice on November's ballot."

Murphey said he's still concerned about the process confusing people who may not pay attention to the advertising and notification such a hassle will likely receive in the next 63 days before Nov. 4.

Murphey's decision to delay in his announcement of the special election comes just a few days before the Aug. 29 deadline.

"I think it adds to the confusion, I think it shows a lack of understanding, it seems to me it should not carry that kind of importance," Murphey said. "There was some concern that straight party voters would not vote in the special election if it was at the bottom."

Sheffield just said it'll be one more way to win on election day.

The timing of Murphey's announcement coincided with a press conference by Sheffield, who was endorsed by AGFUND, the political action arm of the Texas Farm Bureau.

District 8 Director Richard Cortese, who also serves as Precinct 1 Bell County commissioner, introduced Sheffield, as a member of the AGFUND board. A news release from the Texas Farm Bureau stated that the group's decision to support Sheffield came down to its hope for a candidate who "fought for less government and fewer intrusions on small business." The news release cited Sheffield's long-established presence as a small business owner and memberships in various commerce organizations throughout the county.

Contact Justin Cox at or 501-7568.

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