Montgomery County becomes the epicenter of two significant political developments with the sudden announcements that State Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands)will be running for county judge, and former State Rep. Steve Toth will be running for his old House seat.
That Keough would challenge the scandal-ridden incumbent Craig Doyal came as a surprise to many political activists in Montgomery County. However, after being embroiled in controversy and indicted for violating the Texas Open Meetings Act in a case which is currently pending before the Ninth Court of Appeals, Doyal has been viewed as vulnerable. Doyal has also faced multiple accusations of nepotism, conflicts of interest, and mismanagement, and is currently under investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for potentially misusing county resources.
“The last two legislative sessions have impressed upon me the critical role county governance plays in the lives of Texan families,” said Keough. “It has also made me reconsider where I have the best opportunity to serve our area. For those reasons and many others, I am announcing my candidacy for Montgomery County Judge in the 2018 Republican Primary.”
Keough has been no stranger to controversy himself during his two terms in the legislature, coming under fire from both conservatives for seconding the nomination of Joe Straus for Speaker, and from the establishment for his hard-line stance on immigration. He has announced support from key local Tea Party leaders, including Montgomery County Tea Party President Pat Tibbs. Texas Patriots PAC Treasurer Bill O’Sullivan cited Keough’s entrance into the race as a positive development.
Just minutes after Keough’s announcement, Toth announced that he would be running for Keough’s open House seat, which he represented from 2013-2014 before running for State Senate in 2014.
“Texas desperately needs conservative leadership in the House to support the efforts of the Texas Senate and the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.” Toth stated, “This session has seen House leadership stall and kill most of Governor Abbott’s emergency legislation. Concerned citizens in the district want results and have asked me to lead, in response to them I feel compelled to answer their call. With the support of so many in this community I am honored to announce my campaign for the Texas House.”
Toth emerges as a strong contender for the seat, rolling out endorsements from The Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch and six of the seven directors of The Woodlands Township.
Toth received high scores from conservative groups while in the legislature and was an Empower Texans Taxpayer Champion.
The two announcements mark the beginning of what is expected to be a brutal and contentious primary season in Montgomery County.