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

COMMENTARY by BRAD ROLLINS

Two years ago while trying unsuccessfully to fend off a primary challenger, former County Judge Elizabeth Sumter tangled bitterly with then-Commissioner Jeff Barton over who was a better Democrat.

Sumter

On Tuesday, Sumter voted in the Republican Party primary joining other prominent Wimberley Democrats like Sally Caldwell and Bob Ochoa in a cross-party bid to unseat her longtime rival, Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley.

Conley certainly also enjoyed cross-over support from Democrats. But Brannon camp’s direct — and, ultimately, unsuccessful — appeal for Democrats to flood the Republican primary was a gambit not seen in other races in recent years.

On Monday, Brannon supporters barraged local Democrats’ email boxes with spam headlined “Will Conley is very mad” and urging recipients to vote in the Republican Primary.

“If you want to make a difference in local government, this time around, now’s the time to vote in the Republican Primary. Now’s the time to make Commissioner Conley’s worst nightmare come true,” the email stated.

The missive prompted former Hays County Democratic Party chair Jon Leonard to take to his Facebook page to denounce the tactic. He said, “We do not make our party stronger — nor do we make our county stronger — by deserting our party.”

He continued, “Vote in the Republican primary? Sorry. Ain’t gonna happen. We can only lose by giving Republicans a green light to brew, bottle, and hustle the same ol’ nasty snake oil with the same ol’ smoke and the same ‘ol mirrors.”

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7 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ blog: Sumter casts ballot in GOP primary

  1. And Conley also received a lot of support from independents, like me, who voted in the Republican Primary, as I have done several times previously.

  2. So Brad, you know how Sumter voted? How did that happen? As has been posted before, the open primary has been the way Texans have voted for years. If the GOP controlled House, Senate and Governor’s office had wanted to change it, they could have. And BTW, there was a fair amount of cross over voting by GOPers in the 2008 Democratic primary; why no out cry then? Pot, meet kettle.

  3. The way redistricting was screwed up, this year when you voted you were asked (for all to hear) “…Republican or Democrat?” during early voting, and there were two separate lines on election day which indicated which primary folks voted it.

    Regardless, if people have a right to vote, then they have the right to vote AGAINST someone if they so choose.

    Get over it already. Conley’s back in office, and can spew as many vitriolic and condescending insults from the Court as he wants to, now that he’s been re-nominated. (Unless he gets beat by a Democrat in November).

  4. I think the point is that she was the former top elected Democrat in the county — you would think that would make you a Democrat. So I find the fact that she voted in the Republican primary very interesting and newsworthy. What does that say about the local Democratic party? Was she uninterested in any of the candidates her party put up in other races, or have the socially liberal, fiscally conservative grassroots types coming into the local Republican party brought a large number of Democrats with them? If so, what does that say about the future of the local two-party system? I think there are some negatives with the Dems not fielding candidates in many high profile races, because primary turnout is so low that fewer people have a voice in who represents them.

  5. There were only two truly contested races in the Dem primary. Maybe she was more concerned about the race for Sherriff? Maybe she was more concerned about the Hays County Commissioner race, and this was her only opportunity to have a say.

    This is why I will never join a political party. Too much emphasis on voting for the wrong reasons.

    On a side note, if I never hear from Sumter or Barton again, it won’t bother me a bit. It’s amazing how some people just hold onto old grudges, even after they’ve won. Talk about needing to let it go.

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