Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton gives his concession speech at The Vault in San Marcos Tuesday after losing his race for Hays County Judge to Bert Cobb. Photo by Sean Batura.
By SEAN BATURA
Bert Cobb (R-San Marcos), the former chief of surgery at Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) making his first run for political office, rode a wave of Republican Party enthusiasm to beat political veteran Jeff Barton (D-Kyle) in the race for Hays County judge.
Cobb received 56.18 percent of votes cast and Barton garnered 43.82 percent. The raw numbers came to 21,690 votes for Cobb and 16,915 votes for Barton.
According to campaign finance disclosures, Barton outspent Cobb almost eight-to-one. Barton spent $84,775 through Oct. 25, while Cobb spent $11,784.
Cobb was not immediately available for comment. However, said his son, Jon Cobb, “The Cobb campaign and the Cobb Family — we are overwhelmed by the voters’ support in Hays County. And we look forward to serving every single citizen of Hays County.”
Cobb campaign representative Jerod Patterson declined to comment.
Cobb will work from the front of a suddenly Republican Hays County Commissioners Court. In addition to Cobb’s victory, Mark Jones (R-Kyle) stormed over Ray Bryant (D-Kyle) to replace Barton as Hays County Precinct 2 commissioner. Karen Ford (D-Dripping Springs), running as the incumbent for Precinct 4 Commissioner, received only 36.6 percent support against challenger Ray Whisenant (R-Dripping Springs).
Tuesday’s winners will join Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley (R-Wimberley) as Republicans on the commissioners court. Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe (D-San Marcos) will be the only Democrat, just as she was from 1999-2007.
Barton had served more than a term as Precinct 2 Commissioner before losing to Susie Carter (R-Uhland) in 1998. In 2006, Barton took another crack at Carter and won the seat back.
Deciding to go for county judge in 2010, Barton claimed a Democratic primary victory against incumbent Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) in a campaign energized by their tension on the court.
Said Barton after conceding to Cobb Tuesday night: “I look forward to being able to hand off some of the institutional knowledge I’ve got. I’ve really loved being a county commissioner. It’s a job I’m passionate about, I think it’s a job I did pretty well. I feel a little bit like the employee who gets told, ‘You’re employee of the year this year, but oh, by the way, the company wants to head in a new direction.’ I got a lot of endorsements. I just got awarded by two different groups as the outstanding elected official in all of Central Texas. There’s not even a hint of scandal. We lowered tax rates. We’re under budget on big projects. But clearly it’s a year where people said, ‘We just want something different and we want to give a different party a chance.’ These guys deserve a chance to prioritize for themselves and to explore for themselves what they want to do differently in the county. I wish them the best and I’ll be working with them. We can disagree about issues, we can even disagree about campaign tactics, but at the end of the day, more unites us than divides us. It’s critically important in times of stress and in times of disappointment to remember that, and to remember that this kind of senseless division that we’ve had going on in the country should not be allowed to take root too deeply. It’s incumbent on you when you win to remember that, but it’s even more incumbent when you lose to remember that, in reality, the people who’ve beaten you mean well for the community nine times out of 10. I certainly believe that’s true in this case. “Email | Print