By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

Early voting for the March Primary elections continues to move at a brisk pace as voters continue heading to the polls ahead of the March 1 election.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 23, a total of 5,144 ballots have been submitted by voters in Orange County during the early voting period, which began on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Early voting concludes on Friday, Feb. 26.

A total of 4,381 ballots have been received in the Orange County Republican Primary through Tuesday evening, which includes 471 being submitted by voters on Tuesday. A total of 127 ballots were submitted Tuesday at the Orange Public Library, 70 at the Bridge City Public Works Building, 36 at the Mauriceville Volunteer Fire Department and 129 at Raymond Gould Community Center in Vidor. Another 110 ballots were received through the mail on Tuesday.

The Orange County Republican Party has several local races on the ballot, including the race for Orange County Commissioners of Precinct 1 which has five candidates.

Current Commissioner David Dubose is not seeking re-election. Candidates on the ballot include Gary Hinote, Bobby Manshack, Ryan Peabody, Johnny Trahan and Shirley Zimmerman.

Incumbent John Banken will be opposed by challenger John Gothia for the Precinct 3 seat on Orange County Commissioners Court as well.

Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt is seeking re-election as he faces opponent David Smith.

In the race for Orange County Constable in Precinct 2, incumbent Constable David Cagle will be opposed by Jeremiah Gunter, while the Orange County Constable race for Precinct 4 will have incumbent Weldon Peveto being contested by Jimmy Lane Mooney

In the race for Orange County Clerk, appointee Brandy Robertson will be opposed by new candidate, Trish Williams, and the race for Tax Assessor-Collector will feature candidates Debbie Meaux and Karen Fisher on the ballot.

Unopposed races on the Orange County Republican ballot will include Chris Humble, Precinct 1 Constable; Mark Philpott, Precinct 3 Constable; John Kimbrough, Orange County Attorney; Troy Johnson, Orange County 2nd Court at Law; Courtney Arkeen, Orange County 128th District Court; Dennis Powell, Orange County 163rd District Court; and Sheila Faske, Orange County Republican Chairperson.

For the Orange County Democratic Party, there is only one contested race on the ballot and it will feature Deborah Mitchell, the incumbent Chairperson of the Orange County Democratic Party, who is being opposed by challenger Don Brown.

The lack of local races on the Orange County Democratic Party is being reflected at Orange County early voting locations as only 763 ballots have been received in the Democratic Primary thus far. This includes a total of 29 ballots submitted on Tuesday at the Orange Public Library, four at the Bridge City Public Works Building, one at the Mauriceville Volunteer Fire Department and 14 at Raymond Gould Community Center in Vidor. A total of 34 ballots were received in the mail on Tuesday.

Early voting continues from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, through Friday, Feb. 26, at the above listed locations.