Early voting in next month’s primary elections begins today throughout the state.

In Anderson County, early voters will cast ballots at the Anderson County Courthouse Annex from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Friday, March 3.

There are a handful of contested races in both party’s primaries.

On the Republican side, four hopefuls are bidding to succeed State Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, as the District 3 member of the Texas Senate.

Those candidates include Frank Denton of Conroe; Dave Kleimann of Willis; Robert Nichols of Jacksonville; and Bob Reeves of Center.

No Democrats are running for the Senate seat, so the ultimate Republican victor will assume office on Jan. 1, 2007.

Staples is not seeking re-election, opting instead to run for state agriculture commissioner. He does not have an opponent in next month’s Republican Primary, but will face one of two Democrats — Hank Gilbert or Koecadee Melton Jr. — for the statewide post in the November general election.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 7, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the state.

Anderson County voters waiting until Election Day to cast ballots should do so at their regular polling place.

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