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2012-05-31

Primary - isn't over till it's over

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

It was a long hot primary election season and, folks, it ain't over yet.

In the end, this year's local Republican Primary had something for everyone - run-offs, incumbents being trounced and another coming out on top of the political heap in a three-way race.

Due to the indictment and subsequent resignation of Sheriff Weldon Tucker in April 2011, the wide-open race for Bandera County Sheriff saw six candidates throwing their Stetsons in the ring.

Of the half dozen lawmen vying for the title of the county's "Top Cop," former Kerr County Sheriff Frances Kaiser and former Department of Public Safety Sgt. Dan Butts will face off in the Tuesday, July 31, run-off. Butts received 1,005 votes for 26.15 percentage of the total with Kaiser nipping at his heels with 894 votes for 23.26 percent of the total.

The run-off winner will face Democrat James "Bubba" Popham in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Other candidates for sheriff included Bandera County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Richard Smith, 535 votes; former law enforcement officer James Newton, 534 votes; former BCSO Sgt. Scott Sharp, 463 votes; and CID Investigator David McGilvray, 412 votes.

Since none of the three candidates running for county attorney racked up 51 percent of the vote, incumbent John Payne with 1,381 votes - 37.12 percent of the total - will face challenger Janna Lindig in the end of July run-off election. Lindig garnered 1,721 votes, earning an impressive 46.26 percent of the total votes cast. A second challenger - and nascent politico - Daniel MacNeil came up with 618 votes for 16.61 percent of the total number of votes cast.

On Jan. 1, incumbents in commissioners' races will find themselves out of jobs. In Precinct 1, challenger Bob Grimes prevailed over Bruce Eliker. Grimes ended up with 477 votes and 53 percent of the total to Eliker's 423 votes and 47 percent.

In the Precinct 3 Commissioner race, longtime incumbent Richard Keese's 491 votes failed to win him another term. Challenger Andy Wilkerson came up with a winning 599 votes, garnering 54.95 percent of the total to Keese's 45.05 percent.

In the only other local contested race, Constable Precinct 4 Rod Chalmers won handily over his two challengers. Chalmers came up with 540 votes Butch Lewis' 319 votes and BCSO Deputy Rick Neely's 77 votes.

In the Republican Primary on state and national levels, Mitt Romney pulled away from the now non-existent Republican pack with 2,553 votes. His closest competitor, United States Rep. Ron Paul, tallied 503 votes in Bandera County.

In the race to fill the US Senate seat of Kay Bailey Hutchison, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst came out on top locally with 1,576, followed by Ted Cruz with 1,140 votes.

With his whopping 2,794 votes, longtime US District 21 Rep. Lamar Smith smacked down his nearest opponent, former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, who only came up with 633 votes.

Although newcomer from Hondo Cary Wise fought the good fight for the Texas District 53 seat, Harvey Hilderbran got the nod and 1,882 votes from Bandera County. Wise mustered a respectable 1,282 votes.

According to Bandera County Election administrator Toba Perez-Wright, these tallies, released at 9:16 pm, on Tuesday, May 29, do not reflect the absentee ballots.

Voter turn-out for Bandera's hotly contested primary was an amazing 28.99 percent as 4,159 of the county's 14,348 registered voters trooped to the polls in early voting and on election day, Tuesday, May 29.