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Republicans dominate county races

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Historically, Caldwell County voters tend to lean toward the right on statewide races, but favor Democrat candidates in local races. On Tuesday night, and in the days leading up to it, that trend seemed to change, if only temporarily.

Perhaps fueled by disillusionment at the national level and the right-leaning surge that anger has cau

sed, Republican candidates won nearly every contested race on the Caldwell County ballot.

In the widely-contested and hard-fought race for the Caldwell County Judge’s seat, numbers were too close to call after early voting, and remained tight through to the end. Republican Tom Bonn edged out Democrat Morris Alexander, earning 4,130 votes to Alexander’s 4,060. The race was easily the closest on the local ballot, being decided by only 70 votes, with Bonn earning 50.43 percent of voter support, to Alexander’s 49.57 percent.

In Precinct One, Republican John Cyrier, who was appointed to the Caldwell County Commissioner’s Court by late County Judge H.T. Wright in January, earned a solid victory over challenger Richard Mendez. Cyrier pulled in 1,462 votes (59.65 percent) to Mendez’s 989 (40.35 percent). Unlike in the other races, Cyrier will be immediately sworn to office, according to Assistant District Attorney Ron Heggemeier, because the race was a special election to complete an unexpired term.

The race for the Precinct Two Commissioner’s seat also leaned to the right, with Fred Buchholtz (R) gaining 1,181 votes (53.68 percent) to Edward “Eddie” Moses 1,019 (46.32 percent).

Incumbent Precinct Four Commissioner Joe I. Roland posted a rare Democratic Party victory, defeating Republican challenger Grant Rostig by one of the widest margins seen in local polling. Roland supporters cast 1,124 votes (62.07 percent), while Rostig’s camp offered up 687 votes (37.93 percent).

Two of the county’s four Justice of the Peace precincts also went to Democratic candidates, both races being won by longtime incumbents.

Precinct Two JP Homer Horne (D) defeated challenger John Cochran (R) by seven percentage points. Horne retained his seat with 1,179 votes (53.93 percent) to Cochran’s 1,007 (46.07 percent).

Similarly, incumbent Democrat Raymond D. DeLeon earned re-election over Republican challenger Mark George, collecting 1,029 votes (58.07 percent) to George’s 743 (41.93 percent).

Incumbent Precinct Three JP Mary Alice Llanas (D) was upset in her race for a third term by Republican Alfonso Campos. Campos earned a decisive victory, with 1,111 votes (63.09 percent) over Llanas’s 650 (36.91).

The impending retirement of longtime Precinct One Justice of the Peace M. Louis Cisneros paved the way for Democrat Bernie Rangel to face Republican Matt Kiely at the polls. Kiely gained a majority 1,381 votes (56.71 percent) over Rangel’s 1,054 (43.29 percent).

Notably, Caldwell County voters decided two key races differently than their district partners.

In Caldwell County, voters preferred a change of leadership in Washington, D.C., with 4,225 voters (51.58 percent) choosing to send Republican challenger Donna Campbell to Capitol Hill in place of incumbent Democrat Lloyd Doggett (3,793 votes, 46.31 percent). In District 25 on the whole, however, Doggett defeated Campbell by a seven-point margin, earning 55,029 votes over Campbell’s 47,224. Libertarian candidate Jim Stutsman earned 1,914 votes in the district, with 173 of those coming from Caldwell County.

Just over half the Caldwell County voters casting a ballot in the election for District 45 State Representative chose to send incumbent Democrat Patrick Rose back to Austin. Rose won Caldwell County with 4,165 votes (50.55 percent) over Republican challenger Jason Isaac, who earned 4,075 (49.45 percent).

That slim lead was offset by voting elsewhere in District 45, as Rose fell to an 11-point deficit to Isaac in total polling numbers. Isaac earned 16,125 votes (55.19 percent) to Rose’s 13,089 (44.80 percent).

Overall voter turnout this year lagged from 2008’s all-time high of 11,841 votes cast. However, more than 40 percent of Caldwell County’s 20,724 registered voters exercised their rights, with a total of 8,422 ballots counted on Tuesday. Statewide, an estimated 37.1 percent of Texas voters went to the polls this election season.

The figures provided by the Caldwell County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office on Tuesday night will remain “unofficial” until the results are canvassed by the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court later this month.

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