In November of 2017, I began to consider running for political office. Not for Senate District 5, but for the top elective office in Williamson County, which is called the County Judge. Despite its name, it is not a judicial office. Think of it as the Mayor of the County.
It was the first time I had ever run for office, and I was off to a late start. I got in when I realized that no one else in my party had yet filed to run, which would mean that the winner of the other party’s primary would win the November 2018 election uncontested. I could not allow that to happen. I threw myself whole-heartedly into the task, though I still had a full-time job. What it meant, in part, is that my free time, including all my weekends, was spent on the campaign.
Solitude was hard to come by as I shook more hands, met more people, and knocked on more doors than I ever had in my life. The most surprising thing was that I enjoyed it, and apparently I was better at it than I thought I’d be.
Solitude was hard to come by, but not impossible.
I did find some time to ride, usually on a Sunday morning. Those rides during the campaign were an hour or two at the most, usually within Williamson County. It was a different perspective, seeing the county through the eyes now of someone seeking to be an elected public servant.
Riding through limestone roadcuts and black waxy fields, it’s hard to even imagine the land the way it was when it was the hunting grounds of the Tonkawa Indians. And as development grows unchecked in this suburban Austin county, it’s getting harder to imagine when it was ranch or farm land. But not impossible. It’s still there, but for who knows how long.
The outcome of the election in November 2018 was not in my favor, though it was close. I lost by 6 percentage points. But getting out of my comfort zone was a rewarding experience. In fact, I threw my hat in at the next opportunity to run for office, which was a city council election in May 2019. There was little time to rest before getting back into the work of campaigning. That election also did not go my way. I lost by 179 votes to an incumbent councilman.
A week after that election, and after a year and a half of political campaigns, I was back on the county courthouse circuit.