2018 Democratic Candidates

U.S. Senate


Beto O’Rourke is the three-term U.S. Representative for Texas’s 16th congregational district in his native El Paso. He served on the El Paso City Council from 2005-2011. On March 31, 2017, Beto announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Ted Cruz. Representative O’Rourke is not accepting any PAC money and thus is relying on individual contributions to his campaign. He graduated from Columbia University in New York City with a B.A. in English literature. He is a co-founder of Stanton Street Technology, an internet services and software company. His website is betofortexas.com.

U.S. Representative District 21 (Precincts 339, 349,351,354,363, 365)  


Joseph Kopser is a graduate of West Point, an Army veteran of 20 years, a  job creator as a tech entrepreneur in an Austin-based startup. He has a Master’s in Public  Administration from Harvard and has taken a leadership role in organizations that support veterans, education, technology and solid public policy. His website is kopserforcongress.com.  Joseph was endorsed by CCAD in April 2018.

U.S. Representative for District 25 (Precincts 302, 303, 304, 358, 360,361, 362, 366, 367) 


Julie Oliver is a healthcare advocate, attorney, and accountant with 20 years experience in healthcare and taxation. She was born in poverty in South Oak Cliff, relied on Medicaid as a teenage mom, put herself through college and law school with a young family, and took care of her mom as she struggled with a chronic disease for the last 15 years of her life. Julie is a community advocate and serves on the board of Central Health where she has fought for transparency and for low-income and indigent Texans. It was the GOP’s incessant attacks on healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security that led Julie to run for Congress.  Her website is https://oliver2018.com.


Texas Governor     

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Lupe Valdez was born in San Antonio, the daughter of migrant farm workers. She attained the rank of captain in the US Army, worked as a federal agent for US Customs and Border Protection and later Homeland Security, focusing on drug and fraud cases for almost 30 years before being elected sheriff of Dallas County. She is the nation’s first openly gay female Hispanic sheriff and oversaw the second largest county jail in Texas. She earned a BA degree in Business Administration and a MA in Criminology and criminal justice from UT at Arlington. Her website is www.lupevaldez.com.

Texas Lt. Governor

Mike Collier

Mike Collier has an MBA from the University of Texas and has served as CFO of a successful Texas oil company and as an auditor and partner providing due diligence, structuring and valuation services to some of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ largest clients. In 2016, he ran for Texas Comptroller. He is currently a senior advisor to Duff & Phelps, LLC. He has served as the Texas Democratic Party finance chair. His issues include: public education, school finance and tax reform, access to affordable health care, funding of women’s health programs, climate change, and redistricting.  Check out his website at collierfortexas.com.

Texas Attorney General


Justin Nelson, of Austin, is a partner specializing in major civil litigation at the Houston law firm Susman Godfrey, LLP. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, he clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Harvie Wilkinson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. He has been named among the “World’s Leading Patent Practitioners” by Intellectual Asset Management magazine and a Texas Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters.  He has served as chair of the Economics of the Profession Committee in the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Division and is Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has practiced and taught constitutional law, and is an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law. He is the founder and former president of One Nation One Vote, a group that is pushing to elect the president by popular vote.  His website is www.nelsonfortexas.com.


Joi Chevalier

Joi Chevalier is founder and CEO of the Cook’s Nook in Austin, a culinary incubator providing shared production space and business development for Austin-area artisans, caterers and cooks at early stages of their careers. Previously, she was a manager for Dell Computer Corporation beginning in 2006 and became senior product manager and strategist from 2009 to 2015. She is an honors graduate of the Culinary Arts Program in Austin and she has a MA from University of Texas at Austin. Her website is www.joifortexas.com.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner


Kim Olson of Mineral Wells served 25 years in the U.S. military and rose to the rank of Colonel. She served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense. She was CEO/President of Grace After Fire, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to helping women veterans. After retiring from the military in 2005, she entered the field of public education and became the Director of Human Resources for the Dallas Independent School District in 2007. Ms. Olson has a Natural-Organic Certification from the Texas Organic Research Center and is a Texas master gardener. She is committed to sustainable Eco-Agriculture, provides training on growing healthy food and lectures on small-scale farming. Her website is kimolson4txag.com.

Land Commissioner

Miguel Suazo

Miguel Suazo, an Austin energy and natural resources attorney, is the managing partner of Suazo Legal Group which has locations in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. His firm focuses on compliance with regulations enforced by the Texas Railroad Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, US Bureau of Land Management, EPA and US Department of the Interior. After college at Georgetown University, he worked in DC and New Mexico as an aide to US Senator Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He earned his law degree from the University of New Mexico and then helped biotechnology companies understand policy and regulations of the US Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Defense and the EPA. His website is https://www.facebook.com/MiguelSuazoForTXLandCommissioner/.

Railroad Commission


Roman McAllen of Denton is on the board of Preservation Texas, the statewide organization dedicated to advocating for the historic resources of Texas. Previously, he worked for the City of Brownsville in planning and historic preservation while servingon the Cameron County Crime Stoppers Board. A native of Houston, he is a graduate of the UT Austin with a MA in Architecture. His website is www.mcallenfortexas.com.

Texas Senate District 25

Steven Klingdownload-3

Steven Kling of Dripping Springs joined the Army Reserve in 2004 and received the Bronze Star, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and Combat Action Badge during his 11 years of distinguished service. He is a businessman who specializes in business development, sales, marketing and community management, conflict management, civil-military relations and software architecture. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University. The following issues are the bedrock of his campaign: supporting veterans, restoring local control, healthcare, and education.  His website is klingfortexas.com. Steve received the endorsement of Circle C Area Democrats. 

Texas House Representative District 47         


Vikki Goodwin is broker/owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate. She has served on two HOA boards, served on the grant review committee for Impact Austin and co-chaired the AISD Strategic Plan Task Force. Ms. Goodwin has a B.A. degree in business administration from the University of Texas and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her website is vikki4txhouse.com.

Travis County 331st District Court Judge

Chantal Eldridge

Chantal Eldridge is a private practice attorney in Austin who specializes in criminal law and has defended felony and misdemeanor criminal defendants in Travis, Williamson, Caldwell and Hays Counties and juvenile defendants in Travis and Williamson Counties. She has been licensed to practice law in California, Tennessee, and Texas. She received her BA in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Santa Clara School of Law in 1989. She clerked iwth Judge William Ingram, Chief Judge of the Northern District of California. Her website is www.chantal4judge.com. Chantal was endorsed by Circle C Area Democrats. 

Travis County 419th District Court


Catherine Mauzy is a partner in the Mauzy & Tucker, PLLC law firm and a graduate of the University of texas School of Law. She has been Board Certified in Family Law since 1998, is a member of the Austin Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, Travis County Family Law Advocates, Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, and the Collaborative Law Institute. She received the 2011 Litigation Attorney Award from the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association. She does not have a campaign website.

Travis County 459th District Court Judge   


Maya Guerra Gamble is a trial lawyer with over twenty years of experience who specializes in Child Protective Services. She previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a graduate of Yale Law School. Ms. Gamble has received many professional honors, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Law Enforcement Award, the Texas Attorney General’ Merit Award, the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service. Her website is MayaGuerraGamble.com. Maya was endorsed by CCAD in 4/18.

Travis County 403rd District Court

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Brenda Kennedy has served as judge of the 403rd District Court since 2002. Previously, she served as judge of County Court at Law #7 from 1987-2002 and as assistant district attorney for Travis County. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the UT School of Law and interned at the Department of Justice in Washington DC. She does not have a campaign website.

County Court at Law No. 3

John Lipscombe

John Lipscombe has served as the presiding judge of the County Court at Law No. 3 since January 2011. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law and was a prosecutor for the Travis County Attorney in misdemeanor courts for 19 years. He is a regular lecturer for the UT Law School Criminal Defense Clinic and the Prosecution Clinic, the Austin Bar Association, the Austin Police Department and many other agencies. His website is www.johnforjudge.com. John received the endorsement of Circle C Area Democrats.

County Court at Law No. 5


Judge Nancy Hohengarten has served as the presiding judge at Travis County’s Court at Law No. 5 since 2004. She practiced civil litigation in the Texas Attorney General’s Office, served eight years with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and had a private criminal defense practice before she became the judge. She serves on the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee and the Psychiatric Stakeholder Services Committee and served as the first board chair of the Austin/Travis County Sobriety Center. Her website is www.judgehohengarten.com. Nancy received the endorsement of Circle C Area Democrats.

Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3


Sylvia Holmes is  Associate Director for UT’s Legal Services for Students who has over 10 years of experience in small claims and misdemeanor criminal law.  She previously served as Attorney for Students at Texas State University, was president of the University Student Legal Services Association-Western Region and National Legal Aid Defender Association-Student Legal Services. She holds a BA in Business Administration from University of Texas at Austin and a JD from the University of Alabama School of Law. She is a member of the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Austin Bar Association, Texas State Employees Union, AFL-CIO, Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans and the Texas Women Lawyers Association. Her website is sylviaforjp3.com.

Travis County Democratic Party Chair


Dyana Limon-Mercado is Deputy Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, a statewide advocacy organization that engages supporters of women’s health to fight to protect and expand women’s access to preventative and reproductive care, including abortion. Previously, she was statewide public affairs coordinator for Texas Affiliates of Planned Parenthood from 2011-2014 and communications assistant for the Texas Medical Association from 2010-2011. She has also been field organizer  and deputy field director for two HD Democratic candidates in 2010. She holds a BA in Business Administration in International Business from Texas State University and a MBA from the University of Texas in San Antonio. The TCDP’s website is www.traviscountydemocrats.org.



Steve Adler took office as Austin’s mayor in January 2015. He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the United States Conference of Mayors, was elected as a conference trustee in 2017 as well as winning their Small Business Advocate Award.  Foreign Policy named him to its list of Global Thinkers for standing up for immigrants. He was elected vice president of the National Council of Democratic Mayors in 2018.

Adler was born in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, then moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas School of Law.

He co-founded the Barron, Graham & Adler LLP law firm and represented landowners who were dealing with eminent domain and condemnation cases and practiced civil rights law before becoming chief of staff and general counsel for State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh. He has served as chair of the Anti-Defamation League of Austin, board chair of the Texas Tribune, chair of Ballet Austin and board member of GEN-Austin.



Laura Morrison served on the Austin City Council from 2008 through 2014. Previously, she served as president of the Austin Neighborhoods Council, doubling its size to 80 neighborhoods across the city. 

Before entering public service, she spent 10 years as an engineer and manager for an international aerospace company.


Austin City Council, District 8


Rich DePalma has been vice chairman of the Austin Parks and Recreation Board since 2015 and has served as commissioner on the Austin Downtown Commission since 2017. He served on the Austin Independent School District Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee in 2015-2017 and Balcones Canyonlands Plan Citizens Advisory Committee in 2015-2016.

He has worked for almost 20 years with municipalities, state agencies, higher education, public school districts and the private sector on a variety of areas including operations, facility management and construction, water resource management, technology and human resources.

He is president of the TreeFolks Board of Directors and serves on the Baldwin Elementary Campus Advisory Committee. He also has served on the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods Executive Board, Leadership Austin Essentials Class, Great Austin Parks Coalition, Austin Parks Foundation Board, Austin City Works Academy, Baldwin Elementary PTA, and chair of St. Catherine of Siena Solar Carport Energy Project. He is co-founder of Friends of Dick Nichols Park.

He was named Oak Hill Citizen of the Year in 2016 and was presented the Environmental Policy Advocate Award by Save Barton Creek Association in 2017.


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Paige Ellis is a marketing and public involvement specialist for aci consulting (first letters are lower case), an environmental consulting firm that provides natural and cultural resource management, regulatory compliance, construction management, risk assessment and planning services. She hold a degree in sociology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

She worked with the Texas Book Festival First Edition Literary Gala from 2011 to 2014 and has worked with Keep Austin Beautiful since 2016. She is a financial supporter of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, the Barton Springs Conservancy, the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy, The Trail Foundation and KLRU.



Bobby Levinski is an attorney for the Save Our Springs Alliance, an environmental non-profit organization. Since 2005, he has worked as a policy advisor for three Austin City Council Members, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and former Council Members Laura Morrison and Jennifer Kim. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Urban Studies from the University of Texas and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law.

He has served as head coach for the girls’ soccer program at St. Michael’s Catholic High School.


Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees District 7


Yasmin Wagner has served as AISD trustee for District 7 since September 2015, appointed by the Board to fill a vacant seat. She is vice chair of the Board Oversight Committee on Excellence Through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and serves on the Board Audit Committee, Community Engagement Committee and Boundary Advisory Committee. She also is Facility and Bond Planning Advisory Committee liaison.

She has been a member of the Kiker Elementary and Gorzycki Middle School Parent-Teacher Associations and a delegate to the Austin Council of PTA.

Wagner is a corporate manager in the City of Austin Communications and Public Information Office. She is a Leadership Austin alumna and serves on the Community Action Network Board, Travis County Community Justice Council, YWCA of Greater Austin Board and Girls Rock Austin Board. She is a SafePlace sexual assault hospital advocate and a docent at the Harry Ransom Center.


© Circle C Area Democrats 2017