Final: Dayna Blazey, Madeleine Connor unseat incumbents David Wahlberg, Tim Sulak in district judge races

Voters in Travis County made their decisions for positions from U.S. President down to county and district judges on March 3. Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper
Voters in Travis County made their decisions for positions from U.S. President down to county and district judges on March 3. Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper

Voters in Travis County made their decisions for positions from U.S. President down to county and district judges on March 3. Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper

There will be at least four new district judges in Travis County after final results of the 2020 primary election came in early on March 4.

In the criminal 167th district court, incumbent David Wahlberg, who has been on the bench since 2013, lost to challenger Dayna Blazey, a felony prosecutor with the Travis County District Attorney. Blazey received 100,778 votes or 56.5% of the vote to Wahlberg's 43.5%.

In the 353rd district court, Madeleine Connor defeated Tim Sulak, the incumbent serving in that position since 2011 in a closely contested race, winning by fewer than 2,000 votes. Connor received 50.6% of the vote to Sulak's 49.5%.

Sulak built an early voting lead of more than 6,000 votes in early voting, but Connor's election day margin of 48,514 votes to Sulak's 37,652 was enough to give her a narrow victory.

Both Wahlberg and Sulak were endorsed by a majority of respondents to the Austin Bar Association and Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association preference poll. Wahlberg was preferred by 48.8% of respondents to Blazey's 23.4% and Sulak was the choice for 87% of respondents—877 lawyers preferred him to just 43 for Connor.

Two district judges are stepping away—Scott Jenkins in the 53rd district and Dustin Howell in the 200th. Maria Cantú Hexsel defeated Kennon Wooten to be the presumptive nominee in the 53rd. Cantú Hexsel received 56.9% of the vote to Wooten's 43.1%. In the 200th, Jessica Mangrum, with 52.8% of the vote, defeated Maggie Ellis.

In the lone contested district judge race between Democrats and Republicans this November, Selena Alvarenga will be the democratic nominee. She received 60% of the vote to defeat Amy Meredith and face Republican incumbent Geoffrey Puryear, who ran uncontested in the primary.

Julie Kocurek was the lone incumbent to survive a contested primary in the district judge race. The presiding judge of the 390th district since 1999, Kocurek held 86.6% of the vote and defeated challenger Albert Amado.

District Judge, 53rd Judicial District

District Judge, 167th Judicial District

District Judge, 200th Judicial District

District Judge, 353rd Judicial District

District Judge, 360th Judicial District

District Judge, 460th Judicial District

The County Court at Law No. 4 race will go to a runoff election May 26 between Margaret Chen Kercher and Dimple Malhotra. Chen Kercher received 37.1% to Malhotra's 37%. The two were separated by just 120 votes. Malhotra was appointed to the position by county commissioners after the previous officeholder, Mike Denton, chose to run for Travis County Attorney.

Judge, County Court at Law 4

For the 3rd Court of Appeals district, incumbent Republican Jeff Rose is running unopposed and Democrat Darlene Byrne and will look to unseat him in November.

Byrne received 122,882 votes—69.2%—to defeat Keith Hampton.

Chief Justice: 3rd Court of Appeals
Results will be updated throughout the night and are not final until canvassed.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at [email protected]


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