GATESVILLE — First-term state Rep. Dr. J.D. Sheffield drew two opponents in the March 4 Republican primary.

There is no Democrat seeking the seat and the winner of the GOP primary, unless there is a runoff required, will represent Texas House District 59, which covers eight Central Texas counties, including Coryell.

Challenging Sheffield in the primary are Danny Pelton and Howard Ray.

Sheffield, 53, of Gatesville, is a family physician and chief of staff of Coryell Memorial Hospital. He has lived in the district for 21 years.

“I am not a career politician,” Sheffield said. “Before I was elected as state representative two years ago, my only political experience was as student body president at Howard Payne University and as serving on the board of directors of my local volunteer fire department.”

Saying the job of a legislator “is about service, not a title or pension,” Sheffield refused to accept the state retirement that comes with legislative service.

Sheffield serves on the Corrections, Public Health and Rules & Resolutions committees in the Texas House.

“I am proud of the good work that we began this past legislative session and if the folks of my district see fit to return me to Austin, I will continue to put politics aside and work for conservative solutions to the problems we face,” he said.

Sheffield said he opposes the Affordable Care Act, supports education reforms and defends “our Second Amendment, the right to life and our conservative values.”

Pelton, 55, lives on a small ranch in Erath County about 17 miles from Stephenville. He has lived in the district for 18 years. Immediate past president of the Erath County Republican Party, Pelton serves as committeeman on the State Republican Executive Committee for Senate District 30.

Pelton said he was recruited to oppose Sheffield by members of the Texas Legislature who were concerned about his “liberal voting record.”

Pelton said he was endorsed by several conservative groups including tea party organizations.

“Protecting the freedoms of Texans from the overreach of the Obama administration” is the biggest issue facing the district, Pelton said.

Ray, 33, is a self-employed firearms instructor.

An Army veteran who was at the scene of the Fort Hood shooting in 2009, Ray said the tragedy strengthened his views on gun control.

“In the Fort Hood shooting, I crossed a terrorist and had an opportunity to take the guy out but couldn’t defend myself or others because my holster was empty,” he said. “I have to live with that for the rest of my life.

“I’m for an open-carry and campus-carry for men and women,” he said.

Ray has been a resident of Copperas Cove since September and has been a District 59 resident since June.

Ray is involved in Rotary Club, Toastmasters, the Exchange Club, the American Legion in Hamilton and the VFW in Cove.

“I want people to know that I’m a real person and not a suit in an office,” he said. “People ... want and deserve accountability, liberty, responsibility and they deserve to be heard.”

Contact Tim Orwig at

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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