Dyana Limon-Mercado, an executive with a Planned Parenthood advocacy group, and Anne Wynne, an attorney, have thrown their hats into the ring for Travis County Democratic Party chair.
Limon-Mercado is the deputy executive director for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, the political and advocacy arm for Planned Parenthood in Texas.
“I’m running for Travis County Democratic Party Chair because it’s time for us to move forward with a bold vision for our party and our community,” she wrote in her announcement Facebook post on Nov. 9. “Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to run and for asking me the tough questions about why I’m ready for the job.”
Limon-Mercado previously served as the statewide public affairs coordinator for the eight Planned Parenthood affiliates of Texas, where she handled public policy, community organizing and communications, according to her campaign page.
Wynne, an attorney at her firm Ikard Wynne, LLP, cut her teeth in politics by first volunteering for Ann Richards for County Commissioner, which led to volunteering for Richards’ campaign for state treasurer, then for governor when Wynne served as one of her campaign attorneys, according to her Facebook page.
Wynne was the first woman to chair the Texas State General Services Commission and to be a member of the Texas Transportation Commission, according to the page.
In response to several states voting to prohibit same-sex marriage, Wynne in 2004 founded Atticus Circle, a nonprofit with a mission of educating and mobilizing straight allies of LGBT people.
“Anne’s broad range of experience serving our progressive community in different roles … (has) led her to positively impact the lives of thousands of our friends and neighbors,” Wynne’s page reads. “Now, Anne is ready to put her experience to work for the Travis County Democratic Party to advance our shared progressive vision for our community.”
Local party chairs recruit candidates to run for elected office, spearhead party fundraising efforts, seek out volunteers to help with campaigns and sometimes serve as the voice of the party. With his term set to end in June, local party chairman Vincent Harding announced this fall he would not seek re-election to the unpaid post, citing in part recent family health woes.
The field of candidates to succeed Harding has been particularly volatile: Two previous candidates have announced then dropped out just weeks later.
First, Rick Cofer stepped down at first saying he wanted to make room for female candidates but later admitted the Statesman’s then-impending reporting of incidents of inappropriate behavior toward women from his past factored into his decision.
Then, Mike Lewis announced his candidacy, only to end his short-lived campaign two weeks later after a website highlighted his previous conservative-leaning Facebook posts as well as a post with a joke about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby.