By: John S. Marshall
Laredo Morning Times
Texas Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. has filed for re-election, while state Rep. Will Metcalf is getting the backing of Gov. Greg Abbott in his bid for another term in office.
Bell, a Republican from Magnolia who has served in the Texas House of Representatives for three terms, drove to Austin to file his re-election paperwork in early December.
Unlike some of his colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives who had already filed their re-election paperwork locally, Bell had to go to Austin to file because the area he represents-District 3-includes parts of Montgomery and Waller counties. Bell had previously announced his intention to run again.
“I’m excited to represent the constituency,” Bell said when reached by cell phone as he drove back from Corpus Christi, where he was for a meeting of the House Land and Resource Committee, which he chairs.
“The opportunity to is both humbling and honoring,” Bell added. “And one that I take very seriously.”
Waller County resident Lisa Seger, who along with her husband, owns and operates the Blue Heron Farm, has filed as a Democrat to challenge Bell for the seat.
“I am not a politician, but I am a huge believer in democracy and I feel like uncontested elections should not happen in a robust democracy,” Seger said in an email. “Mr. Bell has never run against a Democratic opponent, and I don’t think that’s good for any of us. The exchange of ideas is an important part of finding representation that is truly representative. So I am running. I think District 3 deserves to have the option of a candidate that won’t focus their efforts on using the state government to attack the rights of women, minorities and the LGBT community. I am running to preserve and defend the civil rights of all residents.”
Bell took exception to Seger’s comments.
“I’m not sure if that warrants a response,” Bell said during a follow-up call. “I believe I do a good job for all the constituents without regards for labels. I’ll continue to represent the entire constituency and stand for the sovereign nature of our state and all Texans as clearly called out in the U.S. Constitution.”
METCALF GETS ABBOTT ENDORSEMENT
Metcalf, a Republican, had turned in his paperwork last month to represent District 16 for another term, which includes Conroe and surrounding areas. Conroe resident Mike Midler is challenging him as a Democrat for the seat.
Metcalf succeeded Brandon Creighton when Creighton sought a seat in the Texas Senate. Metcalf easily won the 2014 general election with nearly 84 percent of the vote.
In a statement and in a YouTube video endorsing Metcalf, Abbott described him as a “champion for business innovation in Texas” and said he has consistently championed Texas policies that have “spurred job creation and economic development” throughout the state.
“Next legislative session, we have an opportunity to take Texas to even greater heights,” Abbott said. “That is why it is so important that a powerful voice like Will Metcalf’s remains in the Texas House-a voice that will advocate for an even stronger economic climate for Texas. I am proud to endorse Representative Metcalf for another term in the Texas House, and I urge the voters of House District 16 support him as well.”
Metcalf said he was “honored” to get the governor’s backing.
“I am honored to have the endorsement and look forward to working with him next session,” Metcalf said.
Midler, Metcalf’s Democratic challenger, said he was not surprised by the governor backing Metcalf.
“It’s to be expected. It’s a party endorsement,” Midler said. “I’m sure the Republican governor will endorse the Republican candidate for District 16.”
State Rep. Mark Keough, a fellow Republican who currently represents The Woodlands in the Texas House of Representatives, is not seeking re-election to the House, but instead is running for Montgomery County judge in the March 2018 Republican Party primary election.
Steve Toth, who held the state House seat but stepped down to run in a special election for District 4 state senator to replace longtime Sen. Tommy Williams, is seeking the nomination in the March primary for the District 15 House seat. Also running for the nomination is Jackie Waters, the founding president of The Woodlands Republican Women’s Club.
Lorena Perez McGill, a resident of The Woodlands, has filed as a Democrat for the seat.