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A Texas State Board of Education candidate is running as a Republican and a Democrat

Headshot of D.C. Caldwell.
Courtesy of D.C. Caldwell
D.C. Caldwell is a local educator running to represent District 10 on the State Board of Education. He's branded himself a 'fusion' candidate, seeking the nominations of the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties.

As Central Texas voters prepare for the March 5 primaries, they may notice something a bit unusual about a local State Board of Education race: one candidate's name appears on both the Republican and Democratic primary election ballots.

D.C. Caldwell is a local educator running to represent District 10 on the State Board of Education. He's branded himself a "fusion" candidate, seeking the nominations of the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties.

"I'm running on concepts every party agrees with," Caldwell, an employee of Pflugerville ISD, said. "I'd rather spend 90 percent of my time focused on what everyone says they agree on ... rather than spending 90 percent of my time focusing where people disagree passionately."

District 10 encompasses parts of more than 20 counties, including Burnet and Williamson counties.

A spokesperson from the Secretary of State's Office told KUT that while nothing legally prevents a candidate from appearing on more than one political party’s primary election ballot, the move would likely affect the candidate's eligibility in a general election.

Joshua Blank, research director at UT Austin's Texas Politics Project, said the state's election code prohibits a candidate who loses one party's primary from becoming the nominee of another party, as well as an independent candidate during the same election cycle.

Another provision in the code prohibits a candidate from having more than one place on a ballot, which may or may not apply to Caldwell, depending on how successful he is in securing multiple party nominations, he added.

"If Mr. Caldwell prevails in one but not another primary, his placement on the general election ballot would be open to challenge," Blank said. "If he happens to prevail in multiple primaries, his name would then appear on the same ballot in more than one place, which is prohibited by the Texas election code."

Caldwell, however, is not fazed by the idea of potential legal challenges.

"Most people's criticisms aren't that I'm not following the rules, they just don't like the way that I'm following the rules," he said.

It's also not the first time Caldwell has run a multi-party campaign for a State Board of Education seat. He ran to represent District 11, which includes Tarrant County, in 2022. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian nominations that year.

For this District 10 primary election, Caldwell is joined by incumbent Tom Maynard and Round Rock ISD trustee Mary Bone in the Republican primary, and Raquel Sáenz Ortiz, a Southwestern University professor, in the Democratic primary.

Early voting begins Feb. 20.

Kailey Hunt is KUT's Williamson County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at khunt@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @KaileyEHunt.
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