by WES FERGUSON
More than 4,400 Republican voters and 1,408 Democrats have cast early ballots to decide who will represent their parties in November’s general election for U.S. House and Senate seats, constable posts and other political offices.
The last chance to vote early is Friday at Buda City Hall, with Election Day slated for Tuesday.
Republicans are the only ones who will have a say in Hays County’s biggest local decision – the sheriff’s race – because Democrats did not put forth a candidate. Republicans will also decide the next 22nd District judge serving Hays and Comal counties.
In addition, voters will sift through a wide field of U.S. congressional contenders in the first primary election since Hays County was carved into thirds during the recent redistricting process. Most residents on the west side of Buda will vote in District 21, where U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is the incumbent. East-side Buda residents and most Kyle residents will vote in the newly created District 35, where U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, is fighting to keep his seat in Washington, D.C.
Incumbent state Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, is enmeshed in a spirited and increasingly litigious race with challenger Elizabeth Ames Jones, a former railroad commissioner. Emergency room doctor and Tea Party darling Donna Campbell is also running in Texas Senate District 25, which includes most of Hays County west of Interstate 35 but is anchored in northern San Antonio.
Wentworth filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones on Thursday accusing her of airing libelous radio and TV ads that claim he double-billed the state of Texas and his campaign fund for travel expenses. Jones filed a counter-claim that stands by her claims stating, “my television ads are true.”
In the Kyle area, voters in the Democratic primary will choose whether to keep James Kohler for his 10th term as Hays County Precinct 2 constable. The winner between Kohler and his challenger Guy Irwin will face Republican Ron Hall in November.