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

March 2nd, 2016
Hays County Democrats energized by surge in turnout

PHOTO: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders waves at a crowd estimated at more than 10,000 people at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack near Austin on Feb. 27. Sanders won nearly 52 percent of 14,113 votes cast in the Hays County Democratic Party primary. PHOTO by DARYL ONTIVEROS/THE UNIVERSITY STAR


U.S. President |
2016 Democratic Primary

Hays County


Bernie Sanders7,311 (51.80%)183,855 (30.24%)
Hillary Clinton6,625 (46.94%)411,708 (67.72%)
Note: 7,803 of 7,963 precincts reported statewide. 49 of 49 precincts reported in Hays County.


Hays County Democrats talked politics as they tracked election results throughout Tuesday evening at a watch party at Café on the Square in downtown San Marcos.

“We like to get together and do it as a community because it helps reinforce our belief in what we’re doing,” party chair Jon Leonard said. “It just helps us be stronger as a party.”

Leonard said the results of the primary elections are good for the Democratic Party at a local and national level.

The national election for president and “intensely competitive” local races help increase voter turnout as more people pay attention, Leonard said. (Countywide, 14,113 people cast ballots in the Hays County Democratic Party primary, fewer than the 20,031 people who voted Democratic in 2008, but nearly four times more than the 3,666 who voted in 2012 and five times more than the 3,014 who voted in 2004.)

“There was so much action in both parties it helped drive a much larger turn out than usual in Hays County and San Marcos for primary elections,” Leonard said. “…The key element of democracy is an involved electorate and an informed public,” Leonard said.

Linda Rodriguez, a former longtime Hays County Court at Law judge, said Hays County is demographically diverse and San Marcos elections are influenced by Texas State students and faculty.

The Nov. 8 general election “is going to decide how our country goes the next four years and so many issues that are so important to every segment of our population. It’s going to be very important to get as much voter turnout as possible,” Rodriguez said.

(As a lifelong Democrat, Rodriguez said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ victory in Hays County over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is interesting. Locally, Sanders won 7,311 votes (51.8 percent) to Clinton’s 6,625 (46.9 percent).)

A few Texas State students were present at the watch party including social work senior Marina Zamora, who said she attended to meet other Democrats.

Zamora said she hoped some of the candidates would have attended to celebrate as a party, but understood they were likely with their families. She believes participating in elections is important.

“Everyone just needs to exercise the right to vote,” Zamora said. “I want to see more young people into voting, not just for the general election, but every election.”

Hays County Pct. 1-1 JP |
2016 Democratic Primary

Alex Aguirre1,603 (34.28%)
Joanne Prado3,073 (65.72%)
FINAL, UNOFFICIAL RESULTS. 18 of 18 precincts reported.

Hays County Pct. 1-2 JP |
2016 Democratic Primary

Maggie Hernandez Moreno2,077 (45.30%)
Sandra Sepulveda Lopez1,771 (38.63%)
Scot Courtney737 (16.07%)
FINAL, UNOFFICIAL RESULTS. 18 of 18 precincts reported.

LESLY DE LEON reports for The University Star, the student newspaper of Texas State University, where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the University Star and the San Marcos Mercury.

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