After months of speculation, the first candidates have filed for their spots on the ballot for the 2020 Potter County Commission elections.

Next year, the seats of Republican Commissioners H.R. Kelly and Leon Church will be up for election, after most recently being re-elected in 2016. Kelly was re-elected to his Precinct 1 seat unopposed in 2016 and has not faced a challenger in either the primary or general election since first winning his seat. Church easily cruised to re-election in the Republican primary in 2016 and was unopposed in that general election.

For 2020, however, voters in both precincts will have their chance to vote in contested races.

In Precinct 1, rumors had circulated for weeks that Kelly would not seek re-election. In fact, the rumors were so prevalent that Republican activists and officials have reportedly been encouraging potential candidates to file for the seat. However, Kelly surprised many observers by filing for re-election last month. His surprise filing did not discourage potential opponents, as Kelly has already drawn a primary challenger in firearms instructor Ayvrie Dixon.

Meanwhile, in Precinct 3, Leon Church has decided to retire after two terms in office, kicking off the race for the open seat. Retiree George Buchenau Jr., Sheriff’s Office Captain John Coffee, and insurance broker Brian Moore have all filed to run for the Republican nomination for the seat.

No Democrats have filed for either seat, although rumors have circulated about additional candidates considering joining the Precinct 1 race.

Candidates will continue to file for places on the ballot through December 9. Election Day for the primary is on March 3, 2020.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.