by BRAD ROLLINS
Hays County Democrats took the rare step of deposing a countywide incumbent officeholder, replacing County Judge Elizabeth Sumter on the ticket with Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton in Tuesday’s primary election.
Carrying 25 of 36 boxes, Barton won 3,109 votes (56.3 percent) to Sumter’s 2,416 (43.7 percent). In the Nov. 2 general election, Barton faces San Marcos physician Bert Cobb who took 4,544 votes (55.8 percent) in the Republican Party primary to Kyle businesswoman Peggy Jones’ 3,599 (44.2 percent).
“It’s time now to start building bridges and building unity not just in the Democratic Party but in the larger community,” Barton said. “We have a lot of challenges to take on in Hays County and we have to find ways to grow and grow with grace in a way that doesn’t harm the place that so many of us love.”
Cobb said, “I think the issues are a fresh vision for Hays County, to prioritize the wants and needs of the people of Hays County, to get a handle on spending, and use our money wisely. I think one thing we need to do is have civility at court, and have a courteous attitude of teamwork where we don’t play politics. I don’t care what party someone is in, I care that they have a vision for Hays County.”
The race broke down as observers had predicted along geographic lines with Barton dominating in the population centers in the eastern part of the county, winning every precinct his native Kyle and Buda stronghold and all but one in the San Marcos area. In Buda, where Sumter had hoped opposition to the U.S. Foods warehouse would give her a foothold, Barton won 634 votes to Sumter’s 228. He won 565 votes to 290 in the Kyle area and 1,267 in and around San Marcos.
Sumter meanwhile won 11 precincts in the less urbanized west, taking every Wimberley and Dripping Springs box as well as picking off by six votes the mostly rural Precinct 447 in the Lime Kiln Road area near San Marcos. Sumter collected 554 in her hometown Wimberley to Barton’s 239; in the Dripping Springs vicinity, she won 655 to Barton’s 404.
For all the drama of the Sumter-Barton matchup, Tuesday’s returns were a reminder of the Republican Party’s strength in the county despite Democrats’ holding four of five commissioners court seats and a number of high-profile offices such as district attorney. Peggy Jones, for example, won more votes in her defeat than Barton won in his victory.Email | Print