Republican candidates hold public reception

Incumbents face challenges

More than 100 citizens turned out for the Republican Party's "Meet the Candidates reception at Landa Haus at Landa Park on Monday, including 22 candidates for office. Among them was state Rep. Carter Casteel (right). Photo by Kevin Force.

By Kevin Force, Staff Writer

For many of the county's incumbent Republicans in office, another term is no cinch.

Monday was the deadline for candidates for public office to file their intentions to run, and following the deadline, the Comal County Republican Men's Club hosted all of the registered candidates at a "meet the candidates" mixer at Landa Haus at Landa Park.

The mixer gave the public a chance to meet all of the candidates face to face, and while no issues were debated, all of the candidates addressed the crowd and stated why they were in the race.

Among the most hotly contested races will be that for State Representative of District 73 and Comal County Judge. The Republican candidates will be decided in the primary election this March.

In the state representative race, incumbent Carter Casteel faces challenger Nathan Macias, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Bulverde. A graduate of Texas A&M, Macias feels that his military experience will be a benefit for him in office.

"I have a heart of service," Macias told the crowd of more than 100. "That's really where my heart lies."

Casteel applauded Macias for his service to the country and said she looked forward to the race.

"This race isn't going to be about not being supportive of our military and our troops in Iraq. This is going to be about issues in Texas," Casteel said.

Another key race facing county residents is that for County Judge. Incumbent Danny Scheel has held the position for the last eight years and seeks his third term in office, but will have to defeat Glenn Jackson and Pete Garcia in the primary first.

Scheel promised "more of the same" and has said he will focus on dealing with the growth of Comal County.

Jackson, a Canyon Lake resident, put his name on the ballot to give voters a choice.

"I'm one man with one purpose and one promise. My one promise is that I solemnly swear to uphold and support the Constitution to protect you, the tax-paying citizens," Jackson said.

Garcia, also of Canyon Lake, just filed for candidacy last week. Recently retired from the Air Force, he is a newcomer to the political arena and became motivated to run after learning about county spending practices.

"I discovered that we lacked some leadership and accountability in our county budgetary process and felt maybe we should change that, given that for the last five years the county has spent more than it has collected in revenue," Garcia said.

Along with Scheel, two other seats on the county commissioners court are up for election. Jan Kennady is unopposed for the Republican bid for commissioner of Precinct 4, but incumbent Jay Millikin will have to defeat challenger Charlie Cantu to retain his Precinct 2 seat.

Cantu has already begun actively campaigning with signs around the county promising "consistency, commitment and integrity."

"I personally believe that I have been charged by God to go ahead and serve the people," Cantu said.

Like Scheel, Millikin seeks his third term in office. He has sat on the commissioners court since 1999, and prior to that spent five years as the mayor of Garden Ridge.

Also present to meet the public were criminal district attorney candidates Ron Karchmer and Dib Waldrip. Waldrip has been the Comal County District Attorney since 1996.

The County Court at Law No. 1 seat, vacated by Judge Brenda Chapman, is up for grabs. Randy Gray and Stephanie Bascon both filed for the position.

And, a three-way race for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 will be contested between incumbent Bill Schroeder and challengers Norma Keeton and D.L. Schraub.

All of the candidates present, even those running unopposed, addressed the crowd and thanked it and the party for their support.

The primary election will be held on March 7.

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