Who's on the ballot?: UT Tyler area candidates

Chandler Gibson


Texas early voting began on Monday, Oct. 13, and kicked off one expectedly tumultuous election season. We here at The Patriot Talon wanted to create an inclusive and expansive list of all candidates that will be on the ballot for this area.

This story, using addresses for The University of Texas at Tyler, Ornelas Hall, Patriot Village, University Pines, Liberty Landing and Victory Village examines who exactly is on the ballot. Strangely enough, even between housing complexes, the ballots are slightly different, and different candidates mean different policy for their respective constituents.

There are a plethora of issues for this election, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top five: Racial Justice, Climate Change and Sustainability, The Economy, COVID-19 and Abortion.

These issues come from candidates’ websites, and I chose those that have been most commonly in the news and easily comparable between platforms. Some candidate positions have not been included, due to intentional impartiality or unavailability.


President of the United States

The campaign President of the United States is obviously the most important and obvious election this cycle. Manhattan real estate mogul and reality TV personality Donald Trump sees his presidency challenged by US-Senator-from-Delaware-turned-former-Vice-President-of-the-United-States, Joe Biden.

  • Incumbent: President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (Republican)

  • Challenger: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (Democrat)

United States Senate

Not as closely watched, the race for US Senator from Texas pits incumbent senator John Cornyn against former military helicopter pilot, Mary “MJ” Hegar.

  • Incumbent: John Cornyn (Republican)

  • Challenger: Mary “MJ” Hegar (Democrat)

United States House: District 1

Maybe you’ve seen Hank Gilbert’s ad for why he’s running, but it sounds like he has reasons. This race for US House District 1 puts eight-term incumbent Louie Gohmert against Tyler-area rancher, Hank Gilbert.

  • Incumbent: Louie Gohmert (Republican)

  • Challenger: Hank Gilbert (Democrat)


Texas Senate: District 1

  • Incumbent: Bryan Hughes (Republican)

  • Challenger: Audrey Spanko (Democrat)

Texas House: District 6

  • Incumbent: Matt Schaefer (Republican)

  • Challenger: Julie Gobble (Democrat)

Texas Railroad Commissioner

The Railroad Commission, despite its name, has had nothing to do with railroads since 2005. This agency more specifically focuses on energy, oil, pipeline safety, mineral regulation, and surface coal and uranium, according to the official website. It’s a three-member committee within the executive branch of the Texas government.

Because of the specifics of the job and the scope of the platforms on which candidates for this office run, the issues criteria have been adjusted.

  • Incumbent: James “Jim” Wright (Republican)

  • Challenger: Chrysta Castañeda (Democrat)

Board of Education: District 9

The Board of Education in Texas establishes curriculum standards, education regulations for the state Independent School Districts.

Neither candidate has put forth an official website or social media account describing their platform and key issues, so they have been excluded from the list.

  • Incumbent: Kevin Ellis (Republican)

  • Challenger: Brenda Davis (Democrat)

Texas Supreme Court

Due to the roles of court justices, they did not put their public stances on issues in campaign websites, in order to maintain and preserve perceived impartiality. Therefore, they have been excluded from this listing.

Chief Justice:

  • Incumbent: Nathan L. Hecht (Republican)

  • Challenger: Amy Clark Meachum (Democrat)

Place 6:

  • Incumbent: Jane Bland (Republican)

  • Challenger: Kathy Cheng

Place 7:

  • Incumbent: Jeffrey S. Boyd (Republican)

  • Challenger: Staci Williams (Democrat)

Place 8:

  • Incumbent: Brett Busby (Republican)

  • Challenger: Gisela D. Triana (Democrat)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

These judges are on the same level of the Texas Supreme Court (the civil side of the civil-criminal coin), and therefore follow many of the same rules. They have since been excluded from this list.