The Erath County Republican Party is partnering with the Cross Timbers Republican Women’s group to host two candidate forums before early voting in the March 3 primary gets underway. 

The first forum on Monday, Jan. 27, will feature candidates running for local offices including the race for sheriff, commissioner of precincts 1 and 3 and constable of precinct 2.

“All of the local candidates have agreed to participate,” event coordinator Carla Trussell told the E-T.

Both forums will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Bond Auditorium.

“This is an opportunity to become informed about the candidates and their positions, experience and qualifications for the office they are seeking.”

Each candidate will introduce themselves and answer five questions from moderator Gil Parks, chairman of the local GOP.

The questions will be formulated in advance by a committee with the local Republican party.

No questions will be taken from the audience.

FORUM FOR STATEWIDE RACES

Candidates vying for a statewide office will take part in a forum on Monday, Feb. 10.

The format will follow the same as the forum for local races.

Highlighting the night will be the race for state representative of District 59. 

Two Erath County residents - Cody Johnson and Shelby Slawson - are challenging incumbent Dr. J.D. Sheffield.

“All three of the candidates have accepted the invitation to participate,” Trussell said.

Johnson, a local businessman who owns Twisted J, called the campaign experience “very rewarding.” 

“I have spoken to constituents in every corner of the district more than once,” Johnson told the E-T. “One of the big issues here is border security so I have taken several trips to El Paso to tour the border. I have also traveled to D.C. to meet with President Trump and Vice President Pence on the issues facing Texas.”

Johnson said he is looking forward to the opportunity to address local voters next month.

“I couldn’t be more excited about getting to speak to Erath County residents,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to debate the issues.” 

Slawson, a local attorney, called the last seven months she has spent campaigning “an absolute privilege.”

“As a grassroots leader, I know our rural communities do our best work when we stand together and it’s thrilling to see our courageous conservatives, who are sick and tired of voting records that don’t line up with our values, uniting to fight for our district, our state and our country,” Slawson said. “I look forward to the upcoming forums as an opportunity to meet and answer important questions and talk about the future of HD59.” 

February’s statewide forum will also feature a handful of candidates vying for Texas’ 11th Congressional District currently held by Congressman Mike Conaway who is not seeking re-election.

“There are several candidates running for that office,” Trussell said. “We have about five who have committed to the forum but we are still waiting to hear from the others.”