Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Polls in Bexar County are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday for the 2018 Texas primaries. Click here to check your registration status and find out where to vote.
The 11-day early voting period closed Friday with more Democrats casting ballots than Republicans, both county-wide and in Texas counties with the largest numbers of registered voters. Of the more than 653,000 Texans who voted early, 56.7 percent opted for Democratic ballots. In Bexar County, that number hovered just below at 56.1 percent.
“Usually what we see [is] that the Republicans turn out for early vote and the Democrats vote on election day,” said Jacquelyn Callanen, the Bexar County elections administrator. “This time, we are seeing the Democrats coming out for early voting.”
Compared to the 2014 primaries, Democratic turnout in Texas more than doubled, while Republican participation increased less than 15 percent, according to an analysis by the Texas Tribune.
“What we don’t know at this point is whether that is a reaction to [President] Donald Trump entirely, or whether it’s a reflection of the fact that there are more Democratic candidates running both for seats that are now open in Congress, but also for legislative seats that Democrats have not heretofore challenged for,” said Joshua Blank, manager of polling and research at the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
On Tuesday, VIA Metropolitan Transit will offer free service to riders who present a valid voter registration card.
Bexar County residents may vote for representatives to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House Districts 21, 23, and 35; Texas Senate District 25 and House Districts 116-124; and statewide offices including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, district judges, various commissioners, and more.
Also on the ballot: contested races for Bexar County district attorney and county commissioner in Precinct 2, as well as chairs for the Bexar County Democratic and Republican parties.
Texas is an open-primary state, so voters choose at the polls whether they want to vote on the Democratic or Republican ballot. In the case of a runoff in any of the races, voters must select the same ballot as in the primary. Citizens don’t have to vote in a primary to vote in the November general election. The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Here are some of the most prominent races:
Nine Democrats are running to represent the party in the Texas Governor’s race, including primary frontrunners former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Houston businessman Andrew White. Incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott faces two Republican primary opponents, but they are not expected to draw a significant amount of voters away from Abbott, who has more than $43 million in the bank.
Incumbent Dan Patrick faces Scott Milder in the Republican primary. The lone challenger is a businessman and former Rockwall City Council member.
Mike Collier is one of two Democrats vying for the position. Collier, the former treasurer of the Texas Democratic Party, lists property tax and public education reform as his top issues. Michael Cooper, a retired auto dealer sales manager, is running to increase education in the state.
Four Republicans are running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to represent Texas, but the larger challenge appears to come from across the aisle. State Rep Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is the “clear frontrunner” of three in the Democratic primary, according the the Texas Tribune. O’Rourke, who refuses to accept campaign funding from political action committees, has been raising more money than Cruz. The incumbent, however, maintains more cash on hand.
U.S. House District 21
There are 22 candidates currently in the race for Texas’ 21st Congressional District, held by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) for the last 31 years. Smith announced his retirement in November, prompting 18 Republicans and four Democrats to seek the seat. Republican candidates include State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs); Chip Roy, Cruz’s former chief of staff; San Antonian William Negley, a former CIA operative who is seeking elective office for the first time; and former Bexar County Republican Party Chairman Robert Stovall.
U.S. House District 23
The primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, which includes much of the Texas border with Mexico, has incumbent U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) facing a lone Republican challenger and five Democratic hopefuls.
Hurd is a San Antonio native and a former undercover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. Alma Arredondo-Lynch is a Uvalde-based dentist and rancher by trade who lists repealing Obamacare as her top issue.
Rick Treviño, who ran for San Antonio City Council District 6 in May 2017, is running against former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones and former San Antonio federal prosecutor Jay Hulings in the Democratic primary.
U.S. House District 35
Two Republicans are seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who has represented a district based in Austin since 1995, from his multi-city district. Sherill Kenneth Alexander is a fifth-generation Texan who lists safer borders and term limits as his top issues. David Smalling worked for 40 years as an electrician and considers equality in opportunity, dignity, and progress as his core principles.
State Rep. District 116
Incumbent Diana Arévalo (D-San Antonio) faces a lone Democratic challenger, former State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who previously served District 116 for more than 15 years before leaving it for an unsuccessful run for a seat in the Texas Senate. Despite only serving one term so far, the liberal Legislative Study Group Caucus named Arévalo “Freshman of the Year.” The winner will go on to face the lone Republican candidate, Fernando Padron.
State Rep. District 121
Several of Republican candidates have been elected to public offices, including former San Antonio City Council member Carlton Soules (D10), or have run for the district seat before, such as Matt Beebe.
State Rep. District 122
Abbott endorsed Chris Fails, mayor of Hollywood Park, over incumbent Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio).
Larson, an outspoken critic of Abbott, chairs the House Natural Resources Committee and has served four terms.
The governor criticized Larson for not supporting efforts to reform property taxes. Larson told the Rivard Report he found that accusation “misinformed.” Fails said he would support the governor’s agenda, particularly noting his support for his plan to address property tax reform at the next legislative session.
Four republican candidates are running in the primary for Commissioner of the General Land Office, including incumbent George P. Bush and former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Two Democratic candidates are running to represent the party in the race.
Bush, as leader of the department, oversees the restoration of the Alamo. Patterson, who uses an image of the Alamo in his logo, is attempting to retake his former position because he does not believe the $300 million project is being handled properly.
Miguel Suazo, a lawyer and one of the Democratic candidates, says Bush failed to protect the Alamo and properly assist recovery efforts in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Tex Morgan, a computer engineer and democratic candidate, also believes recovery efforts have not been handled properly, and adds that there should be better transparency in the land commissioner’s office.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Two Republicans are challenging incumbent Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller, who said during a recent debate that he worked over his first term in the seat to restore order in the office, according to the Texas Tribune. Trey Blocker, a former lobbyist, said “I want to restore honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility to the Department of Agriculture.”
Bexar County District Attorney
Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood faces one Democratic primary opponent, Joe Gonzales. The two have a history of conflict as LaHood allegedly threatened to destroy Gonzales’ law practice. The lawsuit that Gonzales filed ended in a mistrial. Tylden Shaeffer, local defense attorney and former Bexar County prosecutor, is the lone Republican candidate in the race.
Bexar County Commissioner (Pct. 2)
Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo (Pct. 2) faces two Democratic challengers, Mario Bravo and Queta Rodriguez. Each is competing against Elizondo’s 32 years of experience at the post, and neither have held public office before. Bravo wants to govern with community health in mind, and Rodriguez wants to strive for more economic developments in her precinct.
Ismael Garcia and Theresa Connolly are the two Republican candidates running in the primary for the position.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) is up for re-election, but faces no challengers.