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

November 7th, 2009
Huddleston announces sheriff bid, slams Ratliff

by BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

Former longtime sheriff’s deputy Bill Huddleston, the Democratic Party’s nominee for sheriff in 2008, formally announced this week another run for the office in 2010 with harsh words for his party primary opponent, Sheriff Tommy Ratliff.

In his bid against Sheriff Allen Bridges in 2008, Huddleston won 25,617 vote, 45.21 percent, but Bridges died before he could be sworn to a second full term. Ratliff was appointed sheriff over Huddleston and other contenders in December after a contentious, closed-doors selection process by County Judge Elizabeth Sumter and commissioners.

In announcing his candidacy on Friday, Huddleston took aim at Ratliff’s stewardship of the county jail, which has been under scrutiny of the State Jail Standards commission. The agency on Thursday ordered the jail kitchen closed.

“Under the late Sheriff Allen Bridges, jail maintenance and repairs were on track. 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,” Huddleston said.

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

During his 20 years career at the Hays County Sheriffs Office, Huddleston served in positions ranging from deputy to criminal investigator and was at one point SWAT commander, according to his biography.

A former Dripping Springs resident, Huddleston has lived in San Marcos for 13 years where is daughter attends San Marcos High School.

Huddleston said, “I have a foot in every community in this county. My heart is in every community in this county. I understand the challenges facing families and facing our law enforcement system. I have the roots and the experience that matters.”

On the Republican ticket, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission special investigator Gary Cutler, a former Travis and Williamson County sheriffs deputy who lives in Driftwood, has been campaigning for months.

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