Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton, left, and State Representative Patrick Rose, right, congratulate each other after their Democratic primary victories Tuesday. Photo by Lance Duncan.
Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton and former Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) Chief of Surgery Bert Cobb scored easy primary victories Tuesday for their respective party nominations for Hays County judge, setting them up as the contestants for the county’s highest office in the November general election.
Among other key primary results, two commissioners court appointments to fill unexpired terms in the county legal system were endorsed by primary voters, as Sheriff Tommy Ratliff (D-Kyle) and Hays County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Anna Martinez Boling (D-San Marcos) easily staved off primary challenges from within their own parties. Each will now take on Republican opponents in the November election.
Taking on his first primary challenge in five election cycles for his state legislative seat, Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) trounced Andrew Backus (D-Driftwood) with 79.7 percent of 8,321 votes cast across the district, which includes Hays, Caldwell and Blanco Counties. Within Hays County, Rose claimed 76.4 percent of 5,588 votes. Rose will face Republican Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) in the general election.
Barton won 25 of 36 boxes across Hays County, ending up with 56.2 percent of 5,526 votes to trounce incumbent Hays County Judge Liz Sumter. Barton took every precinct in Buda, Kyle and San Marcos. Of 23 eastern boxes, Barton won nine by margins of more than two-to-one and seven others by nearly two to one.
Though Sumter beat Barton in the Wimberley and Dripping Springs areas, those boxes were too few, too small and the margins were too narrow to overtake Barton’s crushing leads in the eastern half of the county.
Cobb knocked out Kyle business owner Peggy Jones in the Republican primary with 55.8 percent of 8,143 votes. The two contestants ran about evenly in the Dripping Springs area, while Cobb generally won by respectable margins in the Buda and Kyle boxes and by wide margins in San Marcos. Of Cobb’s 956-vote margin, 614 votes of that difference came in Hays County Commissioner’s Precinct 3, which includes western San Marcos and the Wimberley area.
Ratliff, appointed in December 2008 to replace the deceased Sheriff Allen Bridges, won 31 of 36 boxes in his Democratic primary win against challenger Bill Huddleston. Ratliff found the most trouble in Buda, where he ran afoul of the locals when he busted down Buda patrol Captain Bo Kidd. But even in boxes 224 and 228, the two Buda city limits boxes, Huddleston won by a combined vote of only 155-151, and Ratliff took almost all the remaining boxes by small margins. Ratliff will run in the general election against Republican Gary Cutler for the remaining two years of Bridges’ original term.
Boling won all but two of 36 Hays County boxes for the Democratic nomination to keep the court at law bench to which the commissioners court appointed her after the death of long-time Judge Howard Warner last summer. The only exceptions were box 127 in far south Kyle, where Boling and Hays County Assistant District Attorney David Mendoza tied, 72-72, and box 446 in north San Marcos, where Mendoza claimed an 18-17 win.
In the Republican battle for the Hays County Precinct 2 commissioner nomination, Hays CISD Trustee Mark Jones hammered former Kyle Mayor Mike Gonzalez with 77.9 percent of 2,414 votes cast. Jones won all ten voting precincts, nine of them by overwhelming margins. Gonzalez did his best in precincts 221, 223 and 227, which constitute the core of Kyle. But Jones still beat him in those boxes by a combined 428-236. Jones will take on Democrat Ray Bryant, a former Kyle city councilmember, in the November election.