By Kathi Bliss
Election signs are cropping up across Lockhart and Caldwell County as candidates stare down the barrel of the beginning of early voting.
In the most broad-sweeping race, four candidates have thrown their hat into the ring to serve as Councilmembers At Large, two positions on the Lockhart City Council intended to represent the entire community, rather than the single-member districts.
Incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Angie Gonzales-Sanchez, who is currently finishing her first term as Councilmember At Large, will see challenges from three well-known candidates as she makes her bid for re-election.
Longtime council member Kenny Roland, who opted not to seek re-election to his District One seat three years ago, has decided to come back to the local political scene, this time running for one of the two At Large seats.
Bernie Rangel, a fixture in the community as the Parks Director, has also opted to expand his service to the community by seeking a spot on the council.
Gonzales-Sanchez, Roland and Rangel will be joined on the ballot by former Lockhart Independent School District trustee John Manning, who has also decided to make another run at public service.
Two single-member seats, in District One and District Two, also appear on November’s ballot.
Incumbent District Two representative “Big” John Castillo is running unopposed for his second term.
Incumbent District One councilmember Juan Mendoza is facing a challenge for his seat, from longtime Lockhart resident Marcos Villalobos.
Seated city council member Paul Gomez has opted not to seek re-election to the council, instead choosing to make a run next year for the position of Caldwell County Judge.
Though filing for positions on next year’s Primary ballot does not officially open until Nov. 9, 2013, both Gomez and Fermin Islas have already begun campaigning for the office, with signs and other campaign materials cropping up throughout the county.
Rumors have swirled about other candidates planning to run for not only County Judge, but for District Attorney, following incumbent DA Trey Hicks’ surprising announcement last month that he does not plan to seek re-election.
Early voting in the Nov. 5 election will be held from Oct. 21 – Nov. 1, in the Conference and Training Center at the LW Scott Annex (1403 Blackjack St.), in Lockhart, and at the Luling Civic Center (300 E. Austin St.), in Luling.
Elections Administrator Pamela Ohlendorf suggested on Tuesday that the scheduled early voting in Lockhart may conflict with other plans for the Conference and Training Room, but the Commissioners have not altered the order they entered in August designating that area as the early voting location.
Statewide on Nov. 5, voters will be asked to decide a variety of Constitutional amendments, including those that would provide property tax breaks for surviving spouses of those killed in military service and changing the requirements and procedures for reverse mortgages. Check next week’s Post-Register for a comprehensive assessment of the nine proposed amendments, as well as sample ballots for the upcoming election.