Hype surrounding the hotly contested presidential race may be taking a toll on local and state political races.
Democrats and republicans both have a reason to head to the polls on April 8. Dale Henry and Mark Thompson are in a runoff to be the democratic nominee to run against incumbent republican Michael Williams for Railroad Commissioner.
Republicans from precinct 444 in Dripping Springs have a runoff for their precinct chair.
According to the Hays County election office, turnout for early voting was lower than expected.
“I don’t understand it,” said Joyce Cowan, Election Administrator, “I talk to people on the street and they seem to not know about the runoff, or even care.”
Cowan said that after 9 days of early voting, less than 50 people had cast a ballot.
“At our office here in Hays County, we only had six people vote. Five democrats and one republican,” said Cowan.
The low turnout surprised many, considering just last Saturday, more than 700 democrats and 300 republicans attended the county conventions.
Low voting numbers could have a major effect on the railroad commissioner’s race. Mark Thompson received 48 percent of the vote on election day and Dale Henry grabbed a little over 20 percent, but if turnout is low, the underdog could easily walk away with a win. “No matter what, whoever wins this runoff will get far fewer votes than on March 4,” said Cowan.
In addition to the overshadowing and ever changing presidential race, a controversial district attorney race in Travis County may be stealing the most of the spotlight.
“Most of what you see ads for around here is the Travis County D.A. race. There just isn’t state-wide interest for these other races,” added Cowan.
There are 14 different seats that will be on the ballot May 10, including the School Board for the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District.
Photo: Travis Country District Attorney Candidate Mindy Montford with supporters – Austin American StatemanEmail | Print