By Kathi Bliss
Grappling about redistricting within the Texas Legislature and the Federal Court system has had a profound impact on Lockhart and Caldwell County at almost all levels of government.
In addition to the confusion created by the late renewal of voter registration cards, and the chaos driven by splitting the county into two US Congressional Districts, the residents of Caldwell County will also have to get to know new candidates and new representatives at the state level.
As a result of the Federal District Court’s February ruling on the interim redistricting maps, Caldwell County has been removed both from its usual Texas Congressional District (45) and its Senate District (18).
Therefore, voters will not have a chance to re-elect either Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) or Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy). Instead, voters will have to decide between a new crop of would-be elected officials.
In the House of Representatives, Caldwell County has now joined Bastrop, Gonzales, Lee and Karnes counties as a part of House District 17, the seat currently held by incumbent Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington). Kleinschmidt was originally elected in 2008, and will not face a challenger on the Republican Party Primary Ballot on May 29.
Kleinschmidt’s challenge will come in November, when he squares off with Bastrop Democrat Colin J. Guerra.
In the State Senate, Caldwell County has been removed from District 18, and added to District 21, a massive Senatorial district that includes parts of Hays, Bexar and Atascosa counties, as well as all of Webb, Duval, LaSalle, McMullen, Live Oak, San Patricio, Bee, Karnes and Wilson Counties.
Since 1986, the district has been represented by powerhouse Democrat Judith Zaffrini, of Laredo, who is running unopposed on her party’s Primary Election Ballot. Zaffrini has a reputation in the Senate for her attendance, having not missed a day of session in nearly 10 years, and having cast more than 40,000 consecutive votes, according to online sources.
Zaffrini will square off in November with perennial political candidate Grant Rostig, a Caldwell County Republican, and Libertarian candidate Joseph Morse.
The last day to register to vote in the May 29, 2012, Primary Election is April 30, 2012. Caldwell County voters who are already registered but who may hold expired Voter Registration Cards are encouraged to be patient. The Federal Court maneuvering with regard to redistricting has created delays for the County in drawing voting precincts, and therefore in issuing new Voter Registration Cards. However, only the paper cards have expired, and voters should be confident that their actual voter registration is still active and valid. Voters would only need to re-register if they have changed addresses or changed their names.
Follow the Post-Register online for more information on the upcoming Primary Election and the candidates involved.