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


Local Republican leaders say they are alarmed that Democrats crossing over to vote in Tuesday’s primary election could swing the results.

An analysis conducted by Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley’s campaign showed that 180 of about 800 early voters in his contest as of Monday had previously voted in the Democratic Party primary, the campaign said. Conley is being challenged by San Marcos resident Sam Brannon, whom Conley says is backed by familiar Wimberley Democrats like Texas State sociology professor Sally Caldwell. Caldwell, a prominent backer of former County Judge Elizabeth Sumter, voted this week in the Republican contest.

“A group of Wimberley Democrats is actively working to sabotage our Republican Primary by organizing Democrats to vote en masse for liberals like Sam Brannon — who just became a Republican so he can run for county commissioner,” Hays County Republican chair Bud Wymore wrote in a letter undersigned by three of his predecessors in that role, Linda Kinney, Mike Cox and Mary Joe Roddie.

(The letter did not address the possibility that Democrats who fear Brannon’s call to freeze all road and parks improvements could be crossing over to vote for Conley, who has championed both.)

The signatories to the letter also said they are concerned that low voter turnout in the abnormal late-May primary could make it easier for Brannon and former Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, who declared himself a Republican late last year after serving in office as Democrat, to wrest control of the party from longer-term Republicans. Because of ongoing legal wrangling over Republican-drawn redistricting maps, the primary was pushed back from its usual early March date to April and then to May.

“That makes it very easy for a group of radical Wimberley Democrats to sabotage our primary and steal our Republican Party,” the party chairs wrote.

Voters have been turning out in greater numbers the later part of this week but it’s still not clear, however, if turnout will match that of 2008 when 8,041 people voted in the Republican primary. As of Thursday, 3,185 people had voted in the Republican primary. That is actually more than voted in the GOP at this point in early voting in 2008 but it is hard to say how much Democratic crossover is pumping up that total.

Democratic Party turnout, meanwhile, stands at 971 early votes cast through Thursday.

Early voting continues today at the Hays County Government Center on Wonder World Drive. Election Day is Tuesday, May 29.


» Early voting turnout by day – Republican Primary

» Early voting turnout by day – Democratic Primary

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11 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ Blog: GOP fears Democrats will hijack primary

  1. I am very surprised to learn that there are any “radical ” Democrats in Wimberley. I’m not clear what this means – are they radicals within the Democratic Party, or are they radicals who happen to be Democrats? Since I’ve never met any of these kind of people in Wimberley, I am justifiably confused.

    I have been an independent for the last 20 years, so I’ve not been too concerned with the internal workings of either of the local R and D parties. I did, however, vote early in the Republican primary this year, a decision I made on my own, without hearing from anyone else about it – totally my decision. And, FWIW, I voted for Conley. I sure hope that the Republican primary does not get messed up by these (so far as I can tell) fictional radicals from Wimberley.

  2. If there was any statewide support for a closed primary (where only registered Republicans could vote in a Republican primary, and visa versa), I would assume that a Republican supermajority in the House, a Republican majority in the Senate, and Governor Perry could’ve passed it in the last session. They chose not to.

    This is the way we do elections in Texas; the way we’ve done it for years. Nothing new, no surprises.

  3. I will say that the widening of 12 was more extensive than I expected. When I saw it, I was very pleased. My first thought was, “this can’t be going over well in Wimberley.” I wonder if that is the case.

  4. This is true. Now there are a lot of good Dems in Wimberley but the Sumter-Caldwell-Ochoa crew have been fighting Will for a long time. They have no standards and will do anything to hurt Commissioner Conley. They have been key in the SB campaign. From Bob’s blog, the Roundup, to SB phoney newspaper which was an exact replica of Sumters phoney newspaper against Powers years ago. Make no mistake, a vote for SB is a vote for this crew. If he were to take office they would own him. Haven’t we all had enough of these trouble makers. Why the University pays Caldwell is beyond me. She spends all her time doing this type of stuuf. What a waste of tax dollars.

  5. There is also the fact that some of those folks who have voted in Democrat primaries previously were Republicans trying to make the changes they want to see. This might just be them coming home to vote in the Republican primary again.

    As a moderate I vote in whichever primary has more contests that I am interested in. In this case I would be one of those “Democrats voting in the Republican primary” but I would never call myself a Democrat. =)

  6. The cross-over dems will be a 1 for 1 wash

    Conley 59% Brannon 41%

    This all came to me in a dream, I trust my dreams because they always seem to be predict the future perfectly. I must have ESPN or something because in the dream Conley and Brannon were drag racing. Conley in a 1959 Ford and Brannon in a 1941 Ford, Conley won the race going away……

  7. For the record I’m one of those cross overs and voted for Will. While I don’t agree with everything that Will votes for I truly beleive he is the best candidate for the County. I also believe that Sam has a place here. He just has to find it.

  8. Griffin Spell
    May 26, 2012 – 6:08 am
    Political Dream paid for by Ford Motor Company?

    Maybe, I hadn’t thought of it that way. I drive a Ford, maybe that’s it who knows.

    What I do know is that Conley is will this race, my dreams are never and I repeat never wrong.

    Conley 59%
    Brannon 41%

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