Early voting for the November 6 general election begins Monday.

GOV: The campaign of former Dallas Co. Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) released a new ad, “Lone Star,” a biographical spot.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News and Longview News-Journal endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

AG: The Dallas Morning News and San Antonio Express-News endorsed Democratic challenger Justin Nelson over Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R).

SD25: The San Antonio Express-News endorsed Democratic challenger Steven Kling over Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels).

Patrick Endorsements: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) endorsed 66 Republican incumbents, open seat candidates and challengers, including all candidates endorsed by Empower Texans PAC except for Lisa Luby Ryan in open HD114. Patrick endorsed two of the six Republicans currently running for Speaker: Reps. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) and Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound). Three other Republican candidates for Speaker are unopposed for re-election, leaving Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) as the only Speaker candidate with a Democratic opponent to be overlooked for a Patrick endorsement.

HD115: Coppell Mayor Karen Seibo Hunt endorsed Democratic challenger Julie Johnson over Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving).

HD121 open: The San Antonio Express-News endorsed Republican nominee Steve Allison.

SEN: CNN televised an hourlong “Texas Town Hall” featuring U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) answering questions from a live audience in McAllen. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) declined an invitation to participate. Libertarian nominee Neal Dikeman was not invited to participate. Outside the venue, Dikeman spoke with reporters about his FEC complaint alleging the town hall was an illegal campaign contribution to the O’Rourke campaign. An attorney for CNN denied the claim in a letter (PDF) written to Dikeman’s campaign.

Meanwhile, the Longview News-Journal endorsed O’Rourke.

CD23: The San Antonio Express-News endorsed U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio). Meanwhile, the New York Times/Siena Coll. poll has been completed. It shows Hurd leading Gina Ortiz Jones (D), 53%-38%.

CD31: The campaign of U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) released a new ad, “Setting the Record Straight,” which compliments Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar for being “an Air Force hero” and having “catchy ads” before going on the attack.

County Offices: Just 49 of the state’s 254 county judge races are contested, according to data published by the Texas Assoc. of Counties. At the county commissioner level, just 19% of races are contested, which leaves 426 commissioner candidates – 301 incumbents and 125 newcomers – unopposed on the November ballot. Back in January, we reported that just 14% of the 2,613 county offices on the ballot (at that time) would be contested by a Republican and a Democrat, based on our analysis of county candidate filings. No Democrats filed to run in 105 counties, and no Republicans filed to run in 14 counties. In 43 counties, just one Democrat filed for a county office, and just one Republican filed in six counties.

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