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Numbers skyrocket as election nears

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

With three full days of early voting remaining, Caldwell County voters are on track to shatter previously-existing records for voter turnout in a four-year election cycle.

As of the close of early voting on Tuesday evening, 2,225 early voters had cast ballots at the early voting station in Lockhart, while another 550 had voted early in

Luling, as of Monday. Officials at the Caldwell County Tax Assessor Collector’s Office, which oversees elections in Caldwell County, suggest that historically the last two days of early voting, Thursday and Friday, are the busiest, which could push early voting totals near 3,500 before all is said and done.

Additionally, according to Joy Pardo, more than 270 absentee ballots have been requested by voters qualified to vote by mail. Of those, she said, 175 have been returned.

Traditionally, Caldwell County voters request between 100 and 110 absentee ballots, and return as few as 80.

Because Election Day turnout is traditionally higher than absentee turnout, it is projected this year’s turnout will far exceed total voter participation in the 2006 General Election, when only 7,600 Caldwell County voters cast a ballot.

As voter participation gears up, local campaigns seem to be heating up, as well, with most candidates running for office reporting significant spending in the final month before the election.

County Judge candidates Tom Bonn (R) and Morris Alexander (D) continue to forge ahead as their year-long bid for the office of County Judge comes to a close.

Although Alexander, who has self-financed the bulk of his bid to be the next County Judge, only reports $200 in campaign contributions coming in during October, he reported spending of $972.50.

Most of Alexander’s final-month spending was in the form of charitable contributions ($540). He also noted $432.50 in advertising costs.

Bonn, on the other hand, continues to receive large contributions to his campaign and logs the bulk of his expenses in food and beverage costs, suggesting his campaign has depended largely on “one-on-one time” in the final 30 days.

Bonn raised $2,925, of which $2,500 was donated by the Republican Party of Texas.

He reported spending $1,323.76, again mostly at county eateries. He also spent $508.20 on advertising.

In the race for Precinct One Commissioner, Republican nominee John Cyrier continues to both out-fundraise and out-spend his opponent, Richard Mendez.

Cyrier logged $1,100 in campaign contributions between Sept. 30 and Oct. 25, with $500 coming from Brendan and Maura Doyle, of Austin. Cyrier’s other contributions received were generally a maximum of $100.

In the same period, he spent $3,552.02 to further his campaign. Most of that expense, some $2491, was for design, printing and postage for a mailer, and another $322.69 was paid to M&M Aviation for airplane fuel used for airborne promotions. He also spent $200 on website development and maintenance, and $192 at Smitty’s Market on food for a campaign fundraiser.

Mendez, on the other hand, reported only $350 raised, with a $300 contribution coming from the Texas Democratic Party. He paid out $100: $75 to the Texas Democratic Party, and $25 to the Caldwell County Democratic Party.

In the Precinct 4 Commissioner race, Joe I. Roland (D) noted raising $950 in itemized contributions and another $585 in smaller contributions, under $50 per donation. Andrew Hobby, of Niederwald, offered support to the tune of a $500 contribution to the campaign.

Roland reported spending $1,097 in the weeks prior to the election. Of that, $736.08 was paid to Printing Solutions, and another $360 went to “miscellaneous expenses.”

Republican challenger Grant Rostig reported raising $513.48, with $48 in smaller-denomination donations. He reported spending $319.60.

Most of Rostig’s spending was for the purchase and distribution of a campaign DVD, for which he paid $246.25 to Brave New Books. He also paid $51.50 to the Dr. Eugene Clark Library for printing costs.

Precinct One Justice of the Peace Candidate Bernie Rangel (D) filed a report reflecting no spending for the reporting period ending Oct. 25. His opponent Mark George (R), did not have a report on file for the same period, as of Wednesday morning.

In the Precinct Three JP race, Democrat incumbent Mary Alice Llanas filed a report declaring $100 in contributions, and no spending. Republican challenger Alfonso Campos declared $650 in contributions, including a $300 influx from the Republican Party of Texas. His reported spending was $878.74, including $190 in advertising, $140 for fuel and $117.20 in event costs.

Precinct Four JP candidates Raymond DeLeon (D) and Matt Kiely (R) both filed very limited reports. Kiely reported no fundraising or spending, while DeLeon said he’d raised $78 and spent $154.34.

The Oct. 25, 2010 reports are the last that candidates are required to file before the election.

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