Elections 2022IssuesLocal NewsDallas County Republicans Vying to Challenge Clay Jenkins in His First General Election Since Pandemic

Clay Jenkins will be facing voters for the first time since he implemented sweeping restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
January 14, 2022
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Dallas County Republicans expressed in a news conference this week that they are hopeful Election Day might be favorable to their candidates as Democrats contend with the fallout from problems such as inflation and COVID-19 restrictions.

Each party lists their candidates online. A list of Democratic candidates can be found here and a list of Republican candidates can be found here.

Primary day is March 1 and the general election is on November 8 of this year. Here is an overview of some notable races in Dallas County.

County Judge

Two Republicans, Edwin Flores and Lauren Davis, are vying for the chance to challenge county Judge Clay Jenkins. 

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Known for his measures against the spread of COVID-19, Jenkins is facing voters for the first time since the mandates he implemented during the pandemic. He imposed the first stay-at-home order issued by a county judge and sought to increase his power to implement restrictions on Dallas County residents.

Before a decision had even been made about the location of the 2020 Republican National Convention, Jenkins stated that Dallas was out of the question, even after large groups of protesters had gathered downtown with no ire from the county judge.

Jenkins recently heralded the county’s intention to spend “unprecedented” amounts on items such as programs for mental health and taxpayer-subsidized housing in the southern part of Dallas County. He has also made a point to condemn Governor Greg Abbott’s strategy against COVID-19, one that Jenkins has considered inadequate from the beginning.

While Jenkins has always contended that the measures were necessary from a public health perspective, his opponents characterize them as overbearing. 

Edwin Flores currently serves as the first vice president on the Dallas Independent School District board of trustees.

“Recently, we have witnessed the erosion of our rights by irresponsible decisions decreed by judges like my opponent Clay Jenkins. They are letting criminals walk free, failing to deport criminal immigrants, issuing ridiculous mandates, and ignoring the main responsibility of government – protecting its citizens,” Flores wrote in a Facebook post on December 30.

He is an opponent of “politics in the classroom” and states that as a trustee he has “listened to parents concerned about critical race theory.”

Flores was first elected trustee for DISD District 1 in 2005 and served for seven years. He was elected to the school board again in 2015. The candidate is a lawyer and has a Ph.D. in immunology from Washington University in St. Louis.

His opponent for the nomination, Lauren Davis, emphasizes the fact that she is the only candidate in the running who is not a lawyer.

Davis has quarreled with Dallas ISD over mask mandates in schools. When the Montessori school her children attend began enforcing the Dallas Independent School District mask mandate, Davis told her kids not to comply. She accused school staff of responding by isolating and targeting her 11-year-old daughter and then 13-year-old son.

“Unfortunately, Dallas ISD decided to take our parental rights away from Pierce and Caroline, whom had documented medical traumas and physician exemptions from wearing masks in school,” Davis states on her campaign website.

Davis describes herself as a “successful business owner and a proven community leader.” 

County Commissioner

Commissioner J.J. Koch (R-District 2) is facing several Democratic opponents in his reelection bid as the only GOP member of the commissioners court.

Koch has battled Jenkins on issues ranging from the county’s vaccination strategy to its stance on election reform. Koch sued the county judge after Jenkins kicked him out of a commissioners court meeting for declining to wear a face covering.

He was also averse to lockdowns as a strategy for controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

Democrats Tom Ervin, Philip Kingston, Michelle Ocker, and Andrew Sommerman are seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Koch in the general election.

Criminal District Attorney

Democrat John Creuzot will face a familiar opponent as he seeks another term as Dallas County’s district attorney. Faith Johnson is the only candidate running in the Republican primary.

“It’s my moment. It’s your moment. And when you look at the numbers, it’s changing,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday.

Johnson previously served as criminal district attorney from 2016 until Creuzot, a former state district judge, defeated her in the 2018 midterms. Governor Greg Abbott had appointed Johnson to replace former District Attorney Susan Hawk after she resigned.

Hawk had been the first Republican in a decade to be elected countywide in Dallas County when she defeated Democrat Craig Watkins in 2014.

During his current term as criminal district attorney, Creuzot oversaw the prosecution of Amber Guyger, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the shooting death of Botham Jean.

Creuzot is competing against one primary opponent, Elizabeth Frizell, who also ran in 2018.

Judges

The Dallas County courthouse has been filled with Democrats since the party swept the county in the 2006 general election.

In March of last year, Abbott appointed Republican Judge Ashley Wysocki to the 44th Judicial District Court. 

Wysocki served on the 254th Judicial District Court in Dallas until she was unseated in the 2020 general election by Democrat Kim Brown, who won with 64 percent of the vote against Wysocki’s 36 percent.

303rd District Judge Rhonda Hunter, also a Republican Abbott appointee, is seeking to be elected to her office. LaDeitra Adkins is running for the Democratic nomination.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."