Following the first presidential debate, the 2024 political season is already well underway, and local candidates have begun announcing intentions to seek office in the upcoming primaries.
Several countywide offices will be on the ballot next year, as the office of Sheriff, County and District Attorney will highlight the ballot in Liberty County.
In the race for Liberty County Sheriff, incumbent Bobby Rader announced via social media earlier this month.
“In 2024,1 will be running for re-election as the Liberty County Sheriff. I will continue to work with the County Judge and Commissioners to get the necessary resources needed to keep the Liberty County citizens safe. Upholding the oath that I took to protect and serve the citizens of Liberty County is a priority. I am asking for your support in next year’s pri- mary election,” said Rader.
Rader has served as sheriff since 2012 and has been serving the public since he was elected Liberty County Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 in 1998.
He was only the second Republican elected to any office in the county at the time of that election. Now, every elected officeholder in the county is a Republican.
That usually means a busy primary season, where many offices have no Democrat challenger and GOP voters decide the winner during their primary.
While no one has officially announced their intentions to challenge Rader, some other races appear to be shaping up several months ahead of the official filing deadline.
One of those races will undoubtedly be District Attorney, with incumbent Jennifer Bergman seeking a second term.
“I will not waiver from my duty to hold criminals accountable and to follow and uphold the laws of the State of Texas. We have made many great strides during the last 2-1/2 years, but we have much work left to do. Let me assure you that I am up for the task. At the end of the day, I look forward to continuing my work serving the people of Liberty County. I am proud of Liberty County, and I am proud of the work we have done,” said Bergman.
The Vindicator has confirmed that Bergman, the first woman elected to that office, will face a challenge from Michelle Mangum- Merendino.
“I believe we have to make Liberty County a safe environment for our families, friends and loved ones. With the rapid decline in case clearance rates and the increase in crime, I believe Liberty County needs a change,” said Mangum-Merendino.
Mangum-Merendino, a longtime local attorney, is expected to announce this week officially.
In the race for Liberty County Attorney, incumbent Matthew Poston confirmed he was seeking a third term.
“I’ve been deeply honored to be Liberty County Attorney for the last two terms and hope for the county’s continued support,” said Poston.
Down ballot the 2024 election will feature the Pct 1 and 3 County Commissioner’s posts. The race for Pct. 1 has already found a pair of candidates, with incumbent Bruce Karbowski expected to seek another term. At the same time, former Pct. 4 Commissioner Toby Wilburn has already hit the stump in hopes of winning the Republican nomination.
In Pct. 3 County Commissioner David Whitmire is also expected to seek another term in office.
There will also be six Constable positions up for grabs and candidates have already started to declare in some of those races.
Pct. 1 Constable is held by Tammy Bishop, the first woman ever elected constable in Liberty County. She is expected to draw opposition from Chance Maddox, a veteran law enforcement officer who announced this month via social media he would be seeking that post.
Another incumbent expected to have a contested race is Pct. 6 Constable Zack Harkness.
“ It is my sincere commitment to the citizens of Precinct 6 that I will continue to serve with diligence and professionalism while working to keep our communities safe. I look forward to continuing to serve with the passion for public safety that Precinct 6 deserves,” said Harkness.
He will face off with former Pct. 6 Constable John Joslin, who announced via social media.
Liberty County Republican Party Chair Wes Thomas looks forward to the upcoming political season and is excited to see candidates embodying true conservative principles.
“We are excited to support our candidates and to mobilize voters to express their opinions loudly and clearly. We are anticipating some exciting local contests and are already in full preparation mode for the upcoming Presidential election season,” said Thomas.
On the Democrat side of the ticket, Party Chair Michael Mark is not yet aware of any candidates vying for office locally but hopes to recruit candidates.
“I am excited that there are several Democrats running in the Democratic Primary for the United States Senate for the chance to take on Ted Cruz,” said Mark.
The 2024 Texas Primary is set for Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
Keep up with the local political happenings on both sides of the aisle in The Vindicator. Subscribe today at thevindicator.com or by calling 936-336-3611.