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2012-08-02

It's finally finished - Butts, Lindig prevail in run-off

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

After the primary election in May, the Courier's lead "it ain't over yet" told the story. Well, folks, after a long hot run-off, it's finally over.

When the ballots settled on Tuesday, July 31, former Department of Public Safety Sgt. Daniel "Dan" Butts and local attorney Janna Lindig came out on top of the heap for Bandera County sheriff and county attorney, respectively.

Early voting tallies showed that both Butts and Lindig had garnered significant leads over their opponents, former Kerr County Sheriff Frances Kaiser and incumbent County Attorney John Payne. And the precinct returns on Tuesday didn't change a thing.

The final tallies showed Butts with 2,193 votes, giving him an impressive 60 percent of the total to Kaiser's 1,457 votes and almost 40 percent of the total.

Butts ran on a platform of bringing "trust and pride" back to the sheriff's office that is still being described by many insiders as "in turmoil." Ex-Sheriff Weldon Tucker pleaded guilty and resigned in April 2011 to forestall a felony trial for abuse of official capacity for his repeated personal use of a county water rescue craft.

Both Butts and Kaiser came out on top of a five men and one- woman wide-open field in the May primary, necessitating the run-off.

Butts will face Democrat James "Bubba" Popham in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Lindig finished with 2,008 votes, garnering nearly 56 percent of the total to Payne's 1,587 votes, which accounted for 44 percent of the total. Throughout the campaign, she promised to "be a full time county attorney," eschewing an allowed-by-law private law practice. Barring a write-in candidate, Lindig will run unopposed in November.

In statewide elections, Bandera County voters gave the nod to Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for United States Senate over Ted Cruz. Dewhurst came out on top locally with 1,294 votes to Cruz's 876 votes.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Paul Sadler trounced his opponent Grady Yarbrough for a chance to take a turn inside the DC Beltway.

However, when the final votes were counted statewide, Tea Party favorite Cruz - he had an endorsement from Sarah Palin - pulled off a stunning upset over political insider Dewhurst. He garnered 631,114 for nearly 57 percent of the vote's cast to Dewhurst's 480,010 votes for 43 percent of the total. Cruz will face Sadler in November, vying for the open seat of Senior Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

However, the run-off in Kendall County made for even a more bizarre election. Candidates running for Precinct 1 Commissioner garnered the exact number of votes, 623. Try and untie that Gordian Knot.

Closer to home, voter turn-out for Bandera's hotly contested primary came in at 26.15 percent as 3,789 of the county's 14,348 registered voters trooped to the polls in early voting and on election day for the hotly contested Tuesday, May 29, run-off. "That's a pretty good turnout for a run-off election said Bandera County Election Administrator Toba Perez-Wright. The final tallies also reflect absentee ballots. So, for all intents and purposes, the 2012 primary and run-off elections are all over but the shouting - and, in some cases, the gnashing of teeth.