By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
Befitting a so-called “purple” county, in that it’s equal parts red and blue, the two major parties came in pretty evenly on down-ballot races in Tuesday’s election, though the Republicans claimed a slight edge.
In five races pitting Republicans against Democrats for countywide or precinct positions, the Republicans won three. Republicans returned incumbents to two countywide positions, while Democrats returned two incumbents in precinct elections.
In the only case of an incumbent losing, Republican Ron Hood rode a big advantage on Election Day to topple Democrat Debbie Brown as constable in Precinct 4, based in Dripping Springs. Brown held a slight edge in the early vote, 3,707 to 3,592, before Hood turned out a huge advantage of 2,110 to 1,687 on Election Day, finally capturing 51.39 percent of 11,096 total votes cast.
Despite jitters about increasing home foreclosures, incumbent Tax Assessor Collector Luanne Caraway County, a Republican, won the largest percentage of any candidate in any race up or down the ballot, from U.S. President through the county races. Caraway won 58.96 percent of 56,943 votes, easily beating Democratic challenger Robert Avera, who took 36.76 percent.
Caraway’s showing barely outpaced State Representative Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs), who won 58.91 percent of 57,673 votes cast across Hays County in his election.
Sheriff Allan Bridges, another Republican, returned to office with 54.79 percent of 56,627 votes against Democratic challenger Bill Huddelston.
To no surprise, Precinct 2 Constable James Kohler, a Democrat, won the highest percentage of any candidate on any Hays County ballot, returning to his green patrol car with 60.86 percent of 10,280 votes in the Kyle-area jurisdiction. Kohler, the apparent Kyle Constable for Life, beat Republican challenger Guy Irwin.
Also, Democratic Justice of the Peace Jo Anne Prado returned to her position in Precinct 1, Place 1 with 55.09 percent of 19,326 votes for her San Marcos-area office. Prado defeated a Republican challenge by Rodney Van Oudekerke.Email | Print