San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 6th, 2009
Updated: Huddleston announces run, swipes at Ratliff

(Editor’s note: The following has been updated with comment from Hays County Sheriff Tommy Ratliff.)


Bill Huddleston, the Democratic Party’s 2008 nominee for Hays County Sheriff, announced Friday that he will take another crack at that office in the 2010 election, pitting himself squarely against Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, a Democratic who announced his intention for a 2010 run when the Hays County Commissioners appointed him last December to replace the late Sheriff Allen Bridges.

Huddleston lost the 2008 election, receiving 45.21 percent of 56,627 votes against Bridges, a Republican running for his second full term. Bridges collapsed in his shower on the night of Dec. 5, 2008, and later died from the heart attack.

Following an anguished political process, the commissioners court, consisting of four Democrats and a Republican, replaced Bridges with Ratliff. The Bridges family and key Hays County Republicans wanted Bridges’ top assistant, Sherman Brodbeck.

In his announcement Friday, Huddleston didn’t hold back from taking his swipes at Ratliff as the two approach a Democratic primary election in March 2010. Huddleston suggested that Ratliff’s style is too autocratic for the demands of the sheriff’s office.

“There are some problems, many stem from an emphasis on demands rather than facts,” Huddleston said. “To solve these problems, we need many people working together.”

During the summer, Ratliff relieved Bo Kidd from his command of the county’s Buda patrol without discussing the matter with Buda city officials. Thursday, the state’s jail standards commission ordered the kitchen of the Hays County Jail to be closed in 20 days. The jail commission has noted seven areas of jail noncompliance with state standards.

“Under the late Sheriff Allen Bridges, jail maintenance and repairs were on track,” Huddleston said. “Allen was a leader who cared about his people and the people of our county. He knew the issues with the jail and had an excellent plan in place, working with rather than against, the commissioner’s court. As sheriff, I will bring that kind of team work back to our county as it benefits everyone.”

The county jail failed state inspections in April and September. A representative of the jail commission paid a visit to the facility on Tuesday before the jail standards commission ordered the kitchen closed on Thursday.

“Perhaps Tommy expected the commissioners to put on gloves, grab a mop and clean his jail for him?” Huddleston asked. “Keeping areas like the kitchen clean and functioning are the sheriff’s responsibility. Period.”

Informed of Huddleston’s barbs, Ratliff said, “It’s the All-American way, isn’t it?” Ratliff didn’t otherwise comment on Huddleston’s candidacy.

Huddleston has lived in Hays County for 24 years, the first 11 in Dripping Springs and the last 13 in San Marcos. Huddleston graduated from Texas Christian University and served in the United States Marine Corps. He returned to Texas and owned and managed a contracting company before entering Hays County law enforcement. A 20-year veteran of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Huddleston has served as deputy, sergeant, narcotics investigator and criminal investigator. As one of the founding members of the Hays County SWAT Team, Huddleston served in every capacity, including SWAT Commander.

Huddleston is a single father of a daughter at San Marcos High School and a son at Katherine Anne Porter School in Wimberley.

“I’m my granddaddy’s kind of Democrat,” Huddleston said. “The sheriff’s office is about people, not politics.”

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35 thoughts on “Updated: Huddleston announces run, swipes at Ratliff

  1. Two years ago Huddleston was very critical of Bridges, and now he is praising the late Sheriff. Sounds like a typical politican—flip flop. And apparently not to aware either ’cause the current jail problems have a history that goes back way before Ratliff was Sheriff, back to the very days of the person Huddleston now praises. Let’s hope voters are a little more realistic when they examine whomever all the candidates are for Sheriff next year from both parties!

  2. Huddleston was very critical of Bridges two years ago. Now he praises Bridges and wants his votes. Normal Hays County political BS. Wonder how many functions Huddleston will show up to after drinking this campagin year. Last time it was several. Just the kind of guy I want for Sheriff. Maybe Montague will sneak around and campagin for him again while on Texas State’s time clock. Getting back on track,the jail is a ageing structure that has design flaws. No matter who the sheriff is, repairs need to be made. The ultimate decision is squarely on the commissioners court since they hold the purse strings. Last court was aware of problems in the jail but hoped the problem would go away…It didnt. Now this court is trying to ignor the problems but the Texas Jail Commission wont let that happen. Wohmever the sheriff is after the election, the jail problems will still be a hurdle that needs to be jumped. Back to Huddleston…His last run for sheriff was arrogant and cocky…with his first interview for this run, it appears things havent changed. Check his real work history record with Hays County Sheriffs Office and see why and how he was diciplined and for what reasons…you may be surprised. Bottom line, Huddleston is a “good ol boy” and will bring in his friends and run a cocky and arrogant sheriffs office. Does Hays County really need this?

  3. Lila Knight..good thing you aren’t trying to make a living as a psychic or detective, you’d need to find another profession. I vote democrat every time except for the rare occassion when a nut job is the candidate {and no, I”m not talking about anyone in the Sheriff’s race—Huddleston and Ratliff are both great guys}.

  4. nutjobs and lameo’s are present in both parties. present commissioners court as great case in point for that. I have known Mr Huddleston for a while and he strikes me as quite qualified. Everything I have heard about Mr Ratliff has been good too, and that is from friends who work “up there” Hey , maybe we got 2 good, highly qualified candidates to choose from. This isnt hollywood and there might not be one hero and one villian here. Let us let these guys do their talking and decide on what they say instead of “who we think they are”

  5. Sorry. Didn’t mean to strike such a nerve. But have to admit I am very pleased that you reacted so strongly against being called a Republican. I like that! And if people just used their real names, then perhaps I would actually know these things from the outset. (or not…) But that’s another debate. Gotta get coffee.

  6. There’s nothing wrong with being a Republican. It’s too bad that petty partisan politics can apparently take hold even on the local level.

  7. How anyone could watch the goings on of our present county commissioners court and say they are proud to be a Democrat is beyond me. I will stick with independant. I vote for the person, not a particular party. Otherwise you are just empowering abuse

  8. Yea, if you always vote straight party (either party) you are stupid and obviously don’t pay attention to whom you are voting for! We should eliminate both political parties and force people–voters–to actually be AWARE of whom they are voting for and what they stand for. Everyday the current parties resemble more and more the British system of “opposition party” crap that our ancestors fought to escape! All this junk about “republican” or “democrat”, or “conservative” or “liberal” is about posturing, not doing what is best for the people they supposedly represent. Do away with all the labels and focus on the people and debate the issues not positions! That’s what Santa wants for Christmas!

  9. I’m with Andy. I’m not sure how anyone can look at either party and feel like those parties represent their interests.

    Voting the party line just seems like the easy way out, to me.

  10. Sometimes, it’s about something more than just representing “your” interests. It’s about a political party that can put the country and its interests first and foremost – for the long haul. It’s about a political party that understands why it’s important to look after “all” the people, and not just a selected few of them. It’s not about a party that can only get things for “me” that I am interested in.

    I could go on, but I am pretty certain that none of you really want to hear it.

  11. My interests could very well be what I think is best for “all” of the people. The point is, I prefer to make that decision for myself, rather than let a political party do it for me.

    The idea of voting for someone, purely based on party affiliation in the hopes that the party will do what I think is right and the candidate will do what the party thinks is right, makes no sense to me. I’d rather hear a given candidate’s positions on an issue and make a decision based on those positions and his/her track record and ability to get things done.

    “Yellow dog” Democrat means that you’d vote for a yellow dog, before you would vote for a Republican (or third-party candidate, I presume). I prefer to set higher standards for my vote.

    Given that (I believe) the term was coined by Democrats who were opposed to Lincoln, I’d say that history has plenty of examples of the flaws in such thinking.

  12. Lila Knight, your “reasoning” would be great IF the political parties ACTUALLY did what you say…. but reality is: each party has both liberals and conservatives, each pulling in different directions within their own party. SO, what you advocate hasn’t ever happened, and isn’t going too. Point in case: the Democrats control both houses of Congress and the Presidency yet they can’t pass most of Obama’s key legislation in ten months time. And, unfortunately, the “interests” most politicians are interested in is not the country’s interests but rather their own re-election.

  13. Unfortunately (for you) the fact that you would vote and side with the Democrat party no matter what completely discounts the validity of any political opinions that you may try to present.

    No one wants to hear a parrot repeating the party line (except maybe other sheep blindly following that party). Most of us would prefer to discuss and debate each issue and each candidate based on their individual merits or lack thereof.

    Too bad you don’t feel the same. I bet you actually support the mess that they’re creating in Washington right now, too.

  14. I guess I’m a “no-dog independent.” I’d vote for a reasonable candidate from either party, before I voted for a dog of a candidate from the other.

    I can’t think of anything more dangerous than letting a candidate know that s/he has my unwavering support before I even know who s/he is.

  15. isnt this party loyalty thing actually just stereotyping ? So its Ok to do it to political parties, but not for the police to do it to people on the street ? As for the actual parties being what their proponents or opponets say they are, I have seen very little real proof of any of it. Ann Richards, a democrat, was good for the environment ?? you loose your ability to hold someones feet to the fire if you vote party line.

  16. Okay. You want to have a discussion about “independents.” Let’s first define what an independent voter is. Check out the wikipedia entry for “independent voter.” Then let’s talk about it.

    PS I don’t generally recommend wikipedia as a source, but I think it’s a good starting point here as this group is talking about independents as a rather nebulous concept as opposed to established political parties which are well-defined with respect to formal platforms. I think it would be useful to learn more about yourselves as “independent” voters in the broader context of the word (vs. what you might think of it in your own personal context).

  17. I don’t need a Wiki entry to look at my voting record and see that I have voted for candidates from both the Democrat and Republican parties as well as third parties.

    Perhaps you were referring me to the “uninformed voter,” section of the article. Which is fine. That’s what O’Dell said, too. Frankly, I think the two of you deserve each other.

    I’m going to take my uninformed, non-independent self on my merry way now. Thanks.

  18. A spectrum is a grouping of variable values. red could be one single wavelegnth or a collection of different values which average out to a predominant one which is seen as “red”, or “blue” depending on where you are viewing it from. Any particular individuals attitudes towards various issues are going to be a range of different things. Individual variation makes the whole political label thing inaccurate anyway. Since when did the parties stick to their platforms anyway ? They say a lot of stuff when they are trying to get your votes, but how soon do they forget you once they are elected ?

  19. Sorry. Just trying to get you to think about this. When independents refuse to participate in the 2-party system, then the primaries are increasingly dominated by the more extreme voters of each party. These are the people determining the candidates who come out of the primary system – and determining the candidates the independents get to vote on in the general election. By NOT participating in the party system, you are, in effect, participating in the system – as you are affecting the outcome of such.

    You can’t just stand on the sidelines, call yourself an independent as though you are above the fray, vote whenever you want, and think you are not involved in the political system. You are. We’re all in this together.

    It’s just that some of us are more willing to work to try to make it a better political system. And we might make more progress if there was less apathy on the part of voters. And perhaps a greater understanding of the political system and how it works.

  20. And I do apologize for the Wikipedia thing – didn’t mean to insult anyone by that. It was just a quickie reference. Thought I explained that. I really didn’t mean anything by it.

  21. How does being independent equate to not voting in primaries? Anyone can vote in any primary in Texas.

    The difference is voting for one party exclusively, or evaluating the candidates from all parties and choosing a primary (or signing for a 3rd party candidate) and being open to voting for a different party, if your 1st choice loses the primary.

  22. Voting straight-ticket is a disservice to the voting process. You’re trying to sell us on swallowing your own thoughts and beliefs to further the “greater good” (i.e. the party line)? Sell that somewhere else because I’m not buying it.

    Unfortunately, as a “Reagan conservative”, I seem to have few candidates in either major party that I can vote for these days.

    The Democrats are neo-socialists (as the health care ‘reform’ package that passed this weekend proves) and the Republicans are too busy spending my money to care what I think.

  23. P.S. Thanks for being “more willing to work to try to make it a better political system.” You’re a better person than I, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

    Fortunately, my apathy prevents me from being offended.

  24. LOL. Thanks for making me laugh Ted. I needed that. Sincerely. I’m working on something I hate and I needed a good smile break.

    But I still stick by my guns. And you really can’t just vote in any primary you want. You have to pick ONE (okay, you can switch each year if you want). Which one are you going to pick to influence this year? I’m really kind of curious to know…

    And how can Dano call himself a “Reagan conservative” but not call himself a Republican? And what gives with all the weird labels anyhow. Democrats are not neo-socialists. Hell. I don’t even know what a neo-socialist is. It’s just a made-up word. If you bothered to look up the definition of socialist, you would know what I mean. We’ve really got to stop with the name-calling. I thought that was one of the things you so-called “independents” didn’t like about political parties. Guess I was wrong…

  25. It’s easy. I believe in the principles that Reagan stood for….a strong national defense, a balanced budget, the power of the free economy, and limited government intrusion into my daily life.

    Today’s Republican party doesn’t seem to stand for those things anymore, so I don’t identify as a Republican.

  26. Ah, the “Reagan Conservative”. Reagan as a balanced budget/fiscal conservative is nostalgia for an age that never existed. During Reagan’s terms:

    -The deficit doubled from about $80 billion to about $150 billion, with a peak of over $200 billion.
    -Government spending nearly doubled from $678 billion to $1.14 trillion.
    -The national debt tripled from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion.
    -National debt as a percentage of GDP went from about 30% to about 50%.
    -Taxes were cut in 1981… and then increased in 1982 and 1983. The structure of these increases shifted the burden of taxes on middle income families from 17.7% of their income in 1980 to 18.4% in 1988.
    -When adjusted for inflation the 1982 Reagan tax increase was larger that Clinton’s in 1993. Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett called it the “largest peacetime tax increase in American history”… in 2003.

    The merits of these policy decisions are another discussion, but don’t blindly follow the myth of Reagan.

  27. There IS a Santa Claus! And thanks, Ted and Jesse, for calming me. (I thought we had seen about all the virtues of an unregulated free market and militarism we needed, for the decade, anyway.) Watch what they DO, not what they say or, Lord help us, what somebody ELSE says they do.

    Does Phil Gramm’s famous message not ring any bells? “I have all the friends I need to get elected–a lot of cash on hand.” !! Sumbitch told (almost) the truth!! I’ll take a guy who isn’t ready, willi8ng and able to spend $8 Mil. or more to get a “service” office in which HE tells ME what I MUST do. Like the Rs’ notion of letting backward states opt out of healthcare reform, which D Reid seems to find stimulating.

  28. I was Bill Huddleston’s partner back in the 1980’s. I never knew him to do a dishonst thing. He was a good cop and a true friend in need. I know that was a long time ago, but I think character last.

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