Local Republicans enter runoff elections
By Kathi Bliss
With only 9.02 percent of Caldwell County voters participating in the May 29 Republican Party Primary Election, little was decided for the candidates in the local Republican races.
A total of 1,798 Republican voters (of the county’s 19,939) turned out at the polls during early voting and on election day, and made no final decisions about candidates to run in the November election.
Both contested area races ended in runoff elections, with no candidate emerging with a clear majority over the competition.
Kent Riddle and Todd Smith will square off in July in a final bid for the Republican nomination to Caldwell County’s Precinct 1 Commissioner seat.
Riddle rose to the top of the field in the Primary election, earning 374 votes (43.64 percent). However, because he did not earn more than 50 percent of the vote, he will have to face the second-place finisher, Todd Smith, who pulled in 274 votes (31.97 percent).
Perennial candidate Richard Mendez finished third, earning 153 votes (17.85 percent), while political newcomer Kathy Sellers rounded out the field with 56 votes (6.53 percent).
The field has also narrowed in the race to replace longtime 22nd Judicial District Judge Charles Ramsay, who will retire at the end of this year. Four candidates filed in the Republican Party Primary to take Ramsay’s place on the bench.
Bruce Boyer rose to the top of the race, earning 48.94 percent of the vote, but falling short of a clear majority. He will carry his 9,833 votes into a runoff against David Glickler, who placed second in the three-county district with 4,814 votes (23.96 percent). The third-place finisher, Ronnie Dickens, earned 3,334 votes (16.59 percent), while David Nigh rounded out the race with 2,112 votes (10.51 percent).
Under the timeline set out by the Federal Courts while Texas was locked in a battle over redistricting, the runoff for Primary races is set for July 31.
In general, the rest of the races on the local primary ballot were uncontested, with the candidates waiting to face their challenges in November, or – as in the case of 421st District Judge Todd Blomerth, not at all.
However, Caldwell County Republicans voted overwhelmingly in favor of five platform “planks” for the Republican Party, including allowing state funding to follow the child instead of the bureaucracy, repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), prohibiting the government from restricting the content of public prayer, requiring the Federal government to pass a balanced budget, and supporting an initiative in the State Legislature to redraw the Congressional District lines imposed by the Federal Courts earlier this year.
Click here for a breakdown of the Republican Party Primary results.
Democrats to keep Constable, Party Chair
By Kathi Bliss
What can only be described as an abysmal turnout marked Caldwell County’s Democrat Party Primary on Tuesday. Of the county’s 19,939 registered voters, only 826 (4.14 percent) participated in the Democratic Party Primary process.
Few races were decided at the Primary level on the Democrat side of the ballot, however; candidates in most local races will wait until November to see a challenge, if they face challenges at all. However, some decisions were made at the local level by shockingly few voters.
Notably, for the first time in recent history, Democratic Party Chair Philip Ruiz faced a challenge this year from George Duran. Ruiz emerged victorious, however, earning 55.56 percent of the voters’ support (405 votes). Mounting a reasonable challenge for the longtime chair, Duran earned 324 votes (44.44 percent).
The only other contested local race on the ballot was the standoff between incumbent Precinct 4 Constable Art Villarreal and challenger Paul Cowan.
Villarreal took just over two thirds of the voting population’s support, earning 171 votes (67.06 percent) over Cowan’s 84 (32.94).
Because there is no Republican candidate in the race, Villarreal will be unopposed in November and will presumably retain his position for another term.
Democratic Party voters showed overwhelming support for party referendums suggested on the ballot.
The “platform planks” include allowing in-state tuition and an opportunity to earn legal status to any high school graduate who has lived in the state for more than three years, calling on the Texas Legislature to fund colleges and universities to a level that allows for “affordable tuition,” and asking the Legislature to allow the people of the State of Texas to vote on legalized gambling.
Click here for a full breakdown of the Caldwell County Democratic Party Primary results.