J. Allen Carnes
J. Allen Carnes
|Mayor of Uvalde, Texas, USA|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Cody L. Smith|
Place of birth missing
Unsuccessful primary candidate in 2014 for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
|Spouse(s)||Brooke Milam Carnes|
|Alma mater||University of Texas|
|Occupation||Farmer and businessman|
Jay Allen Carnes, known as J. Allen Carnes (born 1975), is a farmer who has been since 2012 the mayor of Uvalde, Texas. On March 4, 2014, he was an unsuccessful Republican primary candidate for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.
Carnes was reared on a ranch in Uvalde County. He graduated in 1997 with a degree in Finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to his election as mayor, a nonpartisan position in Texas, he served from 2008 to 2012 on the Uvalde City Council. He has served on numerous Texas agriculture boards and commissions, including the Texas International Produce Association and the Texas Vegetable Association.
Carnes' grandfather started tilling the soil about Uvalde in 1950. Now Allen Carnes is the principal owner and manager of Winter Garden Produce, located on the north side of Uvalde. The company ships crops throughout the nation. Carnes farms vegetables, grain, and cotton. The Carnes family owns more than 3,500 acres of farmland. Carnes himself manages more than 1,000 acres and holds majority interest in the cotton gin. Like the state as a whole, Winter Garden Produce has struggled in recent years with drought, a matter which particularly concerns Carnes. He is affiliated with the South Texans' Property Rights Association, the Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Race for agriculture commissioner
Carnes began his campaign for agriculture commissioner with $89,000, the smallest amount of all five Republican candidates who sought the position. Carnes's opponents challenged his actual commitment to the Republican Party. Carnes voted in the Democratic primaries in 2008 and 2010, as well as 2000, although he disputes that contention. He said that he backed Democrats in local races for sheriff and county judge in which no Republican was seeking those offices in Uvalde County. Carnes said that his backing for these Democrats and political contributions to other Democrats was tied directly to agriculture issues. Nevertheless, Carnes considers himself a "lifelong Republican" who as a 17-year-old volunteered in the unsuccessful 1992 campaign to reelect U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush: "It killed me when he got beat by Clinton, and I couldn't vote."
Under Texas election law, one is automatically a "member" of the political party in whose primary and/or runoff election he participates. Only Democrats and Republicans in Texas normally hold primaries. He remains a "member" of that party for two years until the next regular primary or runoff. The only way he can "change" his party is to wait two years, then skip a primary and become an "unaffiliated" voter or to vote in the other party's primary and in effect "change" his partisan registration. He cannot switch from one party's primary and vote in the other party's immediate runoff election.
Carnes donated about $5,000 total to three Democrat members of the U.S. Congress, including U.S. Representative Pete Gallego of Texas's 23rd congressional district, who is a former state legislator from Alpine. Gallego in 2012 unseated freshman Republican Representative Quico Canseco of San Antonio. Canseco was defeated by Will Hurd in a runoff election for this same seat on May 27, 2014. Carnes also contributed to Democrat U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas's 28th congressional district, a House member from Laredo. He donated as well to former Representative Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio, whom Gallego defeated in the 2012 Democratic primary. In 2004, when Carnes did not vote in either party's primary, Cuellar unseated Rodriguez for the Democratic nomination after a contested recount. Rodriguez subsequently returned in 2006 to claim the neighboring 23rd District, when he unseated the Republican Henry Bonilla of San Antonio. Carnes has also contributed $5,000 to several political action committees concerned with agriculture.
In 2012, Carnes voted for the first time in a Republican primary.
A spokesman for former State Representative Sid Miller of Stephenville, one of the runoff candidates for agriculture commissioner on May 27, 2014 questioned the role of Janey Briscoe Marmion, the treasurer of the Carnes campaign and a daughter of the late Democratic Governor Dolph Briscoe, also of Uvalde. It was subsequently found that Marmion has given to Republicans five times the amount that she has donated to Democrats. Carnes too questioned certain actions of Miller's treasurer, the controversial rock singer Ted Nugent.
Carnes avoided conservative rhetoric in his race for agriculture commissioner. He won the endorsement of baseball icon Nolan Ryan.Ryan's help made little difference, for Carnes finished last in the primary. With 410,273 (34.6 percent) of the ballots cast, Miller led the primary field and then in the runoff contest defeated the runner-up, Tommy Merritt, a former state representative from Longview. The incumbent commissioner, Todd Staples, vacates the position because he ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in the primary. The three losing primary candidates, Eric Opiela, the former executive director of the Texas Republican Party from Karnes City, Joe Cotton of Frisco, and Carnes, held a combined 44 percent of the vote, critical to the outcome of the runoff depending on turnout. Carnes polled 148,222 votes (12.4 percent) in the primary.
- "Biographical Profile for Jay Allen Carnes". vote-tx.org. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "David Barer, Uvalde Mayor Carnes, Currently Exploring Agriculture Commissioner Race, to Make Announcement Sept. 5, August 26, 2013". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "Down on the Farm The only life-long farmer in the GOP race for Texas agriculture commissioner struggles to be heard over an ideological foodfight, December 18, 2013". The Texas Observer. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "David Barer, Rivals make an issue of GOP ag race hopeful's Democratic votes, donations, February 4, 2014". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- Lyle C. Brown et al, Practicing Texas Politics, 13th ed. (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), pp. 192–195
- "J. Allen Carnes". Young Conservatives of Texas. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "Nolan Ryan Endorses J Allen Carnes for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, February 12, 2014". reuters.com. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". team1.sos.state.tx.us. Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
Cody L. Smith
| Mayor of Uvalde, Texas
Jay Allen Carnes