2018 Democratic Candidates


U. S. Senate: Beto O'Rourke

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

Derrick Crowe is a progressive Democrat, former small business owner and Capitol Hill staffer. His website is electcrowe.com.

Joseph Kopser is an Army veteran, job creator as a tech entrepreneur, who has a MA in Public Administration from Harvard. His website is kopserforcongress.com.

Elliott McFadden is a former Executive Director of the Travis County Democratic Party, CEO of Austin B-cycle, and led a successful campaign to invest $65 in affordable housing in Austin. His website is mcfaddenfortx21.com.

Mary Wilson,  a math teacher for over 20 years and  a minister for the last fifteen years, listens to people’s stories and helps them figure our their solutions. Her website is electmarywilson.com.


U.S. Representative for District 25

Julie Oliver is St. David’s HealthCare’s controller for the HCA Central and West Texas Division. She also is a member of the Central Health Board of Directors. She has a degree in accounting from UT Arlington and a law degree from UT- Austin School of Law. Her website is www.juliefortexas25.com.

Chetan Panda is a first-generation American with a degree in International Economics from Georgetown University. He has worked as a retirement fund manager for a mutual fund company. His website is panda2018.com.

Chris Perri has dedicated his life to fighting for justice and freedom. He earned his law degree from the University of Texas and subsequently earned a master's degree in economics. As a criminal defense attorney for over a decade in Central Texas, he's tirelessly fought to uphold our country’s most precious cornerstone, the Constitution, by defending Texans of all backgrounds and beliefs. His website is chrisperrifortexas.com.

Kathi Thomas  of Dripping Springs was a precinct chair in Hays County from 2008 until she resigned to run for Congress at the end of 2015. She ran against Roger Williams in Congressional District 25 in 2016. In 2006, she ran against State Senator Jeff Wentworth and won Travis County by more than 22 points. She is currently a member of the leadership team of the Dripping Springs Democratic Alliance. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of UT-Austin and owns  a special event and planning company. Her website is kathiforcongress.com.


Texas Governor

Garry Brown is executive assistant for Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook. He has been a preschool teacher, a congressional aide for U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, regional field organizer for the Human Rights Campaign, assistant director of the Travis County Democratic Party, chief of staff for Travis County Commissioner Karen Huber and community outreach director for Travis County Constable (now Sheriff) Sally Hernandez. A native of Corpus Christi, Brown is a graduate of McAllen High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from University of Texas-San Antonio. His website is www.garryforgovernor.com

Cedric Davis Sr., criminal justice and law enforcement educator at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland, served as mayor of Balch Springs in Dallas County in 2008. Previously, he served as chief of security and public safety operations for Five Star Asset Protection in Mesquite and chief of police for Wilmer-Hutchins ISD. He also has served on the Wilmer-Hutchins ISD board. He holds an associate's degree from El Centro College and a Bachelor of Applied Science from Sam Houston State University. He is a member of Scottish Rite Masons/Shriners and Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas.  www.facebook.com/pg/thehon.cedricdavissr.fortexasgovernor.

Adrian Ocegueda, a chartered financial analyst, is principal of Lone Star Investment Advisers, LLC, in Dallas where he began as vice president in 2008. He served as policy advisor for the mayor of El Paso from 2003-2005 and was an economic program analyst for El Paso in 2000-2002. He holds a BA in Political Economy from Princeton University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Website is unavailable.

Jeffrey Payne is a Dallas businessman who owns The Eagle, a gay bar in Oak Lawn. He has also launched a jewelry business, a court-reporting firm, and the Sharon St. Cyr Fund which helps individuals obtain hearing aids and sign language interpreters for public events. His businesses also include a retail clothing outlet, a property management company and a land holding company. He is active in the Dallas LGBT community. His website is www.jeffrey4texas.com.

 Tom Wakely of San Antonio ran for Congress against Lamar Smith in 2016. He has been active in the labor union movement and served with the Hotel and Restaurant Workers International Union, the Service Employees International Union, the Office and Professional Employees International Union and the United Association of Office, Sales and Technical Employees. The Austin branch of the NAACP presented him with its community service award in 1997.  His website is www.tom4governor.com.

Andrew White of Houston is president of Sweat Equity Partners, L.P., an investment firm. He is the son of Mark White, a Democrat who was Texas governor from 1983 to 1987. White also is a founder and president of  HomeTool, a company that connects homeowners and contractors; Sweat Energy Services, which cleans oil storage tanks; and Geovox Security, Inc., which provides heartbeat detection technology. He was a founder of Allied Warranty and Lone Star Repair, selling those to NRG Energy in 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin’s Red McCombs School of Business. His website is www.andrewwhite.com.


Grady Yarbrough was born in Smith County, Texas, and educated in Tyler public schools. He received his B.A. from Texas College in 1959, his Master's degree in Education from Prairie View A&M, and his AdmiGranistration Certification from East Texas State University. He is retired from the San Antonio Independent School District. He ran for the Texas Railroad Commission in 2016 and the U.S. Senate in 2012.  


Texas Lt. Governor

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.

Michael Cooper is pastor of the Church of I Am in Beaumont which he founded in 2005. He also help executive management positions for nearly 30 years at Kinsel Motors and Southeast Texas Toyota Dealers. He is executive director of the NAACP, a member of the Beaumont Chambers diversity group, founder and president of Man to Man mentor program, and president of Get on the Bus youth program. He has a BA from Lamar University in Beaumont and is studying for a MA of Divinity from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. His website is www.vote4coopertexas.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.


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.

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

Jack Guerra is a new candidate from San Antonio. No other info available at this time.

Steven Kling joined the Army Reserve in 2004 and received the Bronze Star during his 11 years of distinguished service. The following issues are the bedrock of his campaign: supporting veterans, restoring local control, healthcare, and education. He is tired of the toxic ideology promoted by the incumbent, Donna Campbell. His website is klingfortexas.com.


Texas House Representative District 47

Candace Aylor is owner of Candace Aylor Consulting, LLC, a health policy and systems consulting company with a focus on mental health services for children. She is a registered nurse, served as a nurse supervisor at Kerrville State Hospital, worked as an analyst for Texas Medicaid Healthcare Partnership and was a quality improvement consultant for Texas Medicaid. Ms. Aylor is a graduate of El Centro College in Dallas with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in nursing and a B.A. from Ashford University. Her  website is www.votecandaceaylor.com.

Elaina Fowler has been Executive Director of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Texas Retirees since June 2016. She served as chief of staff for State Rep. Helen Giddings of Dallas from 2013-2017. She is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Georgia, has been a regional organizer for the Texas American Federation of Teachers and executive director and business strategy consultant for Truth in Medicine. Her website is www.fowlerfortexas.com.

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.

Will Simpson  is Chief Operating Officer of New Iron, a staffing and recruiting company in the software industry. He is also a founder of Ten Eleven Twelve, LLC, a management consulting company. He has worked at the executive level in a variety of financial services and information technology companies. His website is willrsimpson.com.

Sheri Soltes was a civil trial attorney for eight years before founding Service Dogs, Inc.in 1988, a successful non-profit business that trains service dogs to assist people living with deafness or mobility-related disabilities. She has mentored assistance dog programs around the world, has been a featured speaker at many conferences and institutes in the US, Chile and Spain, and created the Mighty Texas Dog Walk as a fundraiser for her company. Ms. Soltes has also helped create the Austin Police Dept’s search and rescue dog program. She is a graduate of UT School of Law.  Her website is sherifortexas.com.


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. Her website is unavailable at this time.


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.

Gregory Hitt  is a trial lawyer and a Travis County Precinct Chair (330). He has been board certified in family law since 2008 and is a member of the Texas Bar College. Mr. Hitt is a former director of the Austin Young Lawyers Association,former president of the Solo/Small Firm section and Master in the Barbara Jordan Inn of Court. He is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School. His website is www.hittforjudge.com.

Aurora Martinez Jones is an appointed associate judge in Travis County for the Civil District Courts with a focus on child welfare, Family Drug Treatment and Permanent Managing Conservatorship. She is a Child Welfare Law Specialist, is on the Children’s Justince Act Task Force, a board member of both the Travis County Women Lawyers Foundation and the Girls Empowerment Network Austin,  and a past president of the Austin Black Lawyers Association. Ms. Jones is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School and has her own firm, The Martinez Jones Law Firm, PLLC. Her website is www.auroramartinezjones.com.


County Court at Law No. 3

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.

Paul Quinzi is a Travis County expunction/expungement attorney who has specialized in purging all information regarding the arrest and prosecution of a person found to be innocent since 2006. He graduated from UT School of Law and worked as a prosecutor at the Travis County Attorney’s office. He is the founding Pro Bono Partner of the UT of the UT Law School Expunction Clinic and has presented his research on expunction and nondisclosure to a variety of organizations. His website is www.quinziforjudge.com.


County Court at Law No. 5

Mario Flores has been an attorney for nine years after serving as an Austin City Planner. His law practice has included work on civil litigation, probate, real estate and a general practice. He earned a Master’s degree from UT-Austin in Community and Regional Planning and a law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. He has been honored as a Rising Star Attorney by Texas Super Lawyers Magazine in 2010 and 2012. His website is www.mariofloresforjudge.com.

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.

McKinley Melancon is a new candidate for this position. Her website is www.facebook.com/melanconlaw/.


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.

Susan Steeg has been Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 since 2007 and has been a lawyer for 38 years practicing family, consumer and administrative law. She was general counsel in the Texas Department of Health from 1992 to 2004, managing an administrative docket enforcing environmental, health facility, and health professional practice. Her service includes the State Bar of Texas Health Law Section Council, 1995-1996; State Bar of Texas Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee, 1999-2000; Executive Women in Texas Government, financial officer and treasurer 2002-2003; Public Health Law Association interim executive director, 2005; and Texas AIDS Network Chair, 1991. She is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and Governor’s Executive Development Program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her website is susansteeg.com.


Austin City Council, District 8

Shane Sexton has worked in law enforcement since 2000 and is currently Police Officer and Training Coordinator for St. Edward’s University Police Department. He has a MS in Organizational Leadership and Ethics from St. Edward’s. His website is shane4atx.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. Her website is www.facebook.com/DLMforTCDP.


Anne Wynne is the founder of Atticus Circle, a national organization focused on education, policy development and legal advocacy to achieve equality for all parents and partners regardless of sexual orientation. In her 35-year law career, she has represented clients in all types of litigation as well as working in public policy. She is a founding partner of Ikard Wynne LLP. She was named to three gubernatorial appointments by Ann Richards and was the first woman to chair the Texas State General Services Commission, the first woman member of the Texas Transportation Commission and was a member of the Texas Turnpike Authority Board of Directors. She continued to serve with the latter two under Governor George Bush. She also serves on the board of Equality Texas and the Austin Community Foundation Board of Governors. Her website is www.annewynne.com.

© Circle C Area Democrats 2017