Round Rock school board Vice President Nikki Gonzales has filed to run as a Republican against Williamson County Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Cook in the November 2020 election.
Gonzales, who is serving her second term as a school board trustee, aims to challenge Cook, who is the first Democrat to make a successful bid to the county Commissioners Court since the mid-’90s.
Gonzales is director of governmental relations at Texas State Technical College. She formerly served as a chief of staff at the state Capitol.
A daughter of immigrant parents, Gonzales said in a 2014 profile that she is the first in her family to graduate from college.
In November 2014, Gonzales received 61% of the vote to beat incumbent Trustee Claudio Cruz, a retired parent support specialist in the Austin school district. She ran unopposed in 2017.
Cook worked in the research and technology industry for 23 years and provided staging services for homes on the market before being elected to the Commissioners Court in 2016. She beat Republican Landy Warren, president of the Round Rock branch of R Bank, by 948 votes, or 51% of the vote.
Cook beat Round Rock school board President Chad Chadwell in the March 2016 Democratic primary race for Precinct 1 commissioner, winning with 64% of the vote.
During her campaign in 2016, Cook said she would bring diversity to the Commissioners Court and represent the middle class. She had said an all-Republican leadership led to a lawsuit that challenged questions commissioners asked applicants for an open constable position. The county paid $100,000 to settle the lawsuit, but not before spending $398,000 in legal fees.
Republicans file for House races
In state races, two Republicans are vying for state House seats that were flipped by Democrats in 2018.
Lucio Valdez, a former Hutto City Council member and retired Army sergeant, has filed as a Republican to run against Democrat James Talarico in the House District 52 race.
Talarico, a former executive director of an education nonprofit, received 52% of the vote in the November 2018 election, beating Republican Cynthia Flores, a Round Rock social services manager. Both were vying for the seat held by Larry Gonzales, who opted not to run for another term and pursue a career as a lobbyist.
Talarico, who is the youngest state rep serving at the Capitol, is the Democrat to be elected in HD 52 since 2008. The district encompasses most of Round Rock, Hutto and Taylor and a southern portion of Georgetown.
Cedar Park Mayor Pro Tem Mike Guevara is also running against Democrat John H. Bucy III in the House District 136 race.
Bucy unseated state Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, in one of the most competitive legislative districts in Central Texas. Bucy won 53% of the vote, while Dale took 44%.
HD 136 encompasses Leander, Cedar Park, the Brushy Creek neighborhood and a portion of Northwest Austin.
The deadline to file as a primary or independent candidate is Monday.