With the exits of five long-time incumbents, there will be new faces on the New Braunfels City Council and both major public school district boards of trustees after the May 7 elections.
Five are vying for three seats on the New Braunfels ISD board; six are competing for two Comal ISD trustee slots and five are seeking two city council seats vacated by incumbents declining to seek reelection.
The 16 candidates are two more than the 14 who sought offices last year and are five more than the 11 who sought council and Comal ISD slots in May 2003, five years before New Braunfels ISD shifted to spring elections. Then, as now, all positions are for three-year terms and little pay.
However, there is a twist to the 2022 races, as a majority of this year’s novice group of office-seekers has passed on political action committee donations and are self-funding their campaigns or pledging to limit contributions raised and spent to under $1,000.
Comal ISD’s two board races saw the most raised and spent according to the Herald-Zeitung’s review of donations, loans and campaign expenditures filed with the city and school districts and subject to review by the Texas Ethics Commission.
Filings did not necessarily reflect sums from incumbents and others who raised funds in previous campaigns. Those who are self-funding or filed modified reports pledging to limit fundraising and expenditures to $940 or less are not required to file until after races are decided.
The state’s campaign finance law, outlined in Title 15 of the Texas Election Code, requires periodic reports from candidates 30 days and eight days prior to the May 7 election. The Herald-Zeitung’s review of donations, loans and campaign expenditures cover the first two periods, through Dec. 31, 2021 and from Jan. 1 through March 28 and due April 7.
Beginning April 19, the Herald-Zeitung will feature candidates’ responses to selected questions prior to the start of early voting. The last day for voters to submit applications for ballots by mail is Tuesday, April 26; early voting begins Monday, April 25 and ends Tuesday, May 3.
New Braunfels City Council, District 1
Shane Hines, 40, elected to fill George Green’s unexpired term in 2018 and reelected to a three-year term in his own right in 2019, declined to seek reelection.
Three are out to succeed Hines, who include Andrés Campos-Delgado, a 49-year-old area manager; Jimmy Vallejo Delgado, no relation and a 60-year-old business consultant; and Suzanne Lynn, age unavailable, who is a COBRA specialist.
Campos-Delgado raised $1,650 and spent $202 through Jan. 14, and raised $750 and spent only $20 in the second to end both periods with $3,389 cash on hand. Top contributors included Hines ($300), Bennie Bock ($200), former City Council Member Steven Digges ($100), and his campaign treasurer, Atancio Campos ($200).
Jimmy Delgado reported $380 in cash contributions, $450 in in-kind contributions, and a $1,360 loan against $1,679 in expenditures. He had another $361 in unpaid incurred obligations. Lynn reported $335 in contributions, $736 in unpaid obligations and $20 in expenditures from personal funds, and a $1 loan.
New Braunfels City Council, District 2
Mayor Pro Tem Justin Meadows, first elected in 2016 and reelected in 2019, declined to seek reelection despite being eligible for a third consecutive three-year term after voters approved a city charter amendment that extended term limits last year.
Vying to succeed Meadows is Christopher Willis, a retiree (age unavailable), and Fabian Castillo DeAlva, age unlisted, who listed a military occupation. Willis totaled $1,150 in contributions, all to himself, and spent $1,064 to end both periods with $87 in the bank. DeAlva listed $574 in expenses from personal funds.
New Braunfels ISD, District 1
Keith Smith, a 53-year-old general contractor, is seeking a fourth term after winning elections in 2013, 2016 and 2019. He has yet to file a finance report but told the Herald-Zeitung he hadn’t raised or spent any funds through both periods.
Opposing him is Morgan Renaud, a 31-year-old early childhood and adult ministry coordinator who personally funded $813 in expenditures.
New Braunfels ISD, Two At-Large
With two-term incumbent David Heefner stepping down after two terms, four are seeking two slots. Incumbent Wes Clark, a 42-year-old business executive and current NBISD board president, is seeking his fourth term after winning elections in 2013, 2016 and 2019. Clark self-funded and spent $823 for the two periods.
Seeking to return to the NBISD board is Matthew Sargent, a 45-year-old electrical engineer who lost reelection to his District 4 seat by 251 votes in November 2020. He also hadn’t filed a financial report but said he self-funded and spent $485 through both periods.
Megan Stratemann-Willis, a 41-year-old senior electrical distribution designer, self-funded and spent $681 for both periods. Randy Lenard, a 47-year-old retired Marine Corps officer, also didn’t file a formal report but said he hadn’t raised, self-funded or spent any money during his campaign, which is spreading the word through social media.
Comal ISD, District 6
Marty Bartlett, who has served since 2013, declined reelection to a third elective term. Vying to succeed him are Amanda Jones, a 37-year-old nutritional sales territorial manager, and Amber Bracegirdle, a 42-year-old company co-founder and chief brand officer.
Jones reported $3,245 in contributions and $2,194 in expenditures to end both periods with $1,052 on hand. Bracegirdle reported $1,745 in contributions that included $1,701 in political expenditures offset by two personal loans to her campaign.
Comal ISD, District 7
Cody Mueller, who has served since 2014, declined reelection. Vying to succeed him are David Krawczynski, a 39-year-old technical operations manager; Kaila Stovall, a 31-year-old teacher; Orlando Joseph “O.J.” Dona Jr., a 42-year-old U.S. Air Force civil servant and former Comal ISD teacher; and Stephen Gallets, a 67-year-old retiree.\
By far, Krawczynski has raised and spent more than any of the May 7 candidates. He reported $5,791 from 31 contributions, $770 in in-kind contributions, and $2,542 in expenditures to end the second period with $3,249 in the bank. Nine of the Garden Ridge resident’s contributions totaled $48.40 each, three were $96.80 each, and one totaled $9.80.
Stovall reported raising $1,035 in contributions that included $400 in-kind for graphic designs. She reported expenditures totaling $492 and $119 in cash on hand. Notable contributors were $200 each from attorney Olivia Weisinger and Kerry Gain, a former Comal ISD assistant superintendent.
Dona hadn’t filed a financial report with the district but said he had raised $350 and spent $310, leaving him with $40 in the bank. Gallets reported self-funding $1,689 in expenditures paid through personal credit card and another $856 spent through personal funds.