From left to right -- Denton County district clerk candidates Mark Yarbrough, Ronnie Anderson and David Trantham. (Images courtesy the candidates. Compiled by Leopold Knopp.)

With Denton County district clerk Sherri Adelstein not seeking re-election, several clerks are already positioning themselves to take her place.

Three candidates have announced they intend to run so far: Adelstein’s chief deputy Mark Yarbrough and two men working in the county clerk’s office, department manager Ronnie Anderson and assistant supervisor David Trantham. All three point to their experience inside and outside clerks’ offices as their main qualifications. Yarbrough has been Adelstein’s chief deputy for four years and managed shipping locations for years before that. Anderson has been with the county clerk’s office for seven years and owned his own mortgage service, Denton-based Hometown Mortgage, before having to walk away in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. Trantham has been with the county clerk’s office for six years.

The clerk’s offices are in charge of maintaining district and county court records, respectively. Yarbrough, Anderson and Trantham will face each other in a Republican primary March 8, 2018, ahead of a general election in November.

At age 23, Yarbrough established a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise on the corner of Preston and Royal in Dallas and said he was quickly promoted to marketing director for North Texas and put in charge of the Metroplex’s oldest location on Beltline and Coit. Yarbrough says his success came from identifying and adapting to the community’s needs — in this case, extended hours — and that’s what he wants to bring to the clerk’s office.

“It boils down to, I’m looking out for what are the true needs of the people in the community at my stores,” he said. “Going into looking at it from a district clerk’s point of view, that’s what I need to be concerned with.”

He says he went into semi-retirement after the chain was acquired by UPS and focused more on his volunteer work. He eventually took a job with the county Republican party and served as district director under state Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton. Yarbrough said it was there that he decided he wanted to run for district clerk, and Adelstein hired him as her deputy to show him the ropes.

Anderson worked his way up through the mortgage business, eventually running his own company for nine years. He says he wants to use his experience as a manager to reduce the office’s budget.

“Being self-employed, I’m responsible for paying all the bills on my own with my money,” he said. “I had to watch every penny that came into my office. I had to watch utility bills, phone bills, office supplies, I watched every penny that was going out too.”

Anderson said his goals as the district clerk would be to make case files available online, increasing office accessibility and reducing the office’s budget. He estimated that he could reduce it by 10 to 15 percent but said he had not seen the office’s full budget yet.

Trantham comes from a family of lawyers and has always been around clerk’s offices. He said he got hired with the district office in 2011 just to see what it was like, and he fell in love with it for the history that it represents.

“I like the history that’s being created,” he said. “Once it’s recorded with our office, especially land records and marriage licenses and stuff like that, that stuff is all permanent, so you’re creating history, and that’s something that I find interesting.”

Trantham emphasized running the office ethically as part of his platform and said he identifies as a conservative Republican.