by BRAD ROLLINS
Both major Hays County political party chairs say they are fielding solid candidate slates in 2010 and point to an abundance of high-profile primary races as a sign of their strength in the famously purple county.
In 2008, Democratic Party turnout in Hays County surged to more than 20,000, compared to 8,041 Republicans who voted the same day. Both party chiefs acknowledge those numbers are a possibly once-in-a-lifetime experience driven by the all-consuming Obama-Clinton battle for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Turnout in the March 2 primary race “is not going to be as much as it was in 2008. That much is obvious,” said Democratic Party chair Katie Bell Moore. “But we have a great field of community leaders who have been active for a while and have decided to step up and run for office.”
GOP chair Kent “Bud” Wymore sounded similarly optimistic chords, saying, “I’m excited about our candidates and I’m looking forward to good things in November.”
On the Democratic side, voters will choose their party’s nominees in three contested countywide races – County Judge, Sheriff and County Court at Law No. 1 – two of which are held by Democrats appointed after their predecessors’ deaths.
Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, a Kyle Democrat who has held office since January following Republican Allen Bridge’s death, will compete against former longtime Hays County deputy and investigator Bill Huddleston of Dripping Springs. The winner will take on Gary Cutler, a Driftwood Republican and former Travis and Williamson County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Another appointee, County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Anna Martinez Boling, who is filling the late Howard S. Warner’s unexpired term, is making a primary bid against Assistant District Attorney David A. Mendoza. San Marcos attorney Robert Updegrove is running as a Republican for the bench.
District 45 State Rep. Patrick M. Rose, who represents Hays, Caldwell and Blanco counties, is also being challenged from within the Democratic Party by Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District board member Andrew Backus. The winner will take on trucking technology salesman Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs.
Meanwhile, Republican voters will decide between San Marcos physician Bert Cobb and San Marcos Peggy Jones for that party’s county judge nod. The Republican victor faces either incumbent Elizabeth Sumter or Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton, who are competing in the Democratic Party primary.
The Republican ballot will also feature a marquee match-up in the Precinct 2 commissioners race between Kyle Mayor Mike Gonzalez, considered a rising star in the GOP, and Hays CISD trustee vice chair Mark Jones, who has assembled an apparently formidable grassroots operation. The victor of that race will take on former Kyle city councilman, Ray Bryant, for a seat on the Commissioners Court. Bryant is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket.
In other races, 428th District Judge Bill Henry, a San Marcos Republican, will run against San Marcos attorney Scot Courtney, a Democrat.
Both District Clerk Cecelia Adair, a Democrat, and County Clerk Linda Fritsche are retiring and in both cases deputy clerks are competing to replace their bosses.
Beverly Crumley, a Buda Republican, and Alfredo Sanchez, a San Marcos Democrat, are competing for district clerk. Gina Islas-Mendoza, a San Marcos Democrat, is running against Liz Gonzalez, a San Marcos Republican, for county clerk.
The midterm election is set for November 2.Email | Print