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.
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.”