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March Primary Elections Postponed

Political Redistricting Questions Still Unsettled

Published Jan. 17, 2012 @ 10:55 p.m.

While the redistricting question plays a major role in some areas of the state, the changes in voting precincts in Garza County following the 2010 census were slight.  And although the new date of the primary elections, April 3, 2012, is still uncertain, local campaign signs and billboards have begun to pop up in yards and along the highways throughout Garza County.

Even though Garza County's commissioner and justice of the peace/constable precinct lines have been pre-cleared or approved by the U.S Department of Justice, no lines are safe or certain until a statewide redistricting plan is settled and then pre-cleared by the DOJ. 

A recent report in the Austin American Statesman stated that “if the Supreme Court doesn't rule in time to have political maps in place by the end of January, there won't be time to elect delegates to the state party conventions in June. That means one election date in April for races that do not involve districts, and another election later for Congress and the Legislature.”

There is no word on when the Supreme Court will rule. And, according to the Statesman, the more time that passes, the higher the likelihood that Texas voters will not be going to the polls to vote in primaries now scheduled for April 3. There has been discussions about a primary vote as late as June.

We have already seen many changes in this year's election landscape.  The filing deadline for candidates was extended and the primary election date was moved from March 6 to April 3.  Another, very short time period to begin soon, but not yet determined, will allow candidates to file for a place on the ballot in the primary election – whenever it is held.  It is also possible that during this same period, candidates who have already filed for a place on the ballot will have the opportunity to withdraw their name from the ballot and receive a refund of their filing fee.  The second filing period will start just after the redistricting lines become final and will end on February 1, 2012.

Below are the candidates (listed alphabetically) at this time for races of concern for voters in Garza County in the 2012 Republican and Democratic parties' Primary Elections:

U.S. Representative, District 19
Randy Neugebauer (Incumbent)

District Attorney, 106th Judicial District
Brian Kingston, Republican (Incumbent)
Mike Munk, Republican

Garza County Sheriff
Cliff Laws (Republican, Incumbent)
Phil Mathews (Republican)
Terry L. Morgan (Republican)

Garza County Commissioner Precinct 1
Jerry Fogerson (Republican)
Gary McDaniel (Republican, Incumbent)

Garza County Commissioner Precinct 3
Ted A. Brannon (Democrat, Incumbent)
John Valdez (Democrat)

Garza County Constable Precinct 1
Daniel Yarbro (Republican, Incumbent)

Garza County Constable Precinct 2
Eric Cravy (Republican, Incumbent)
Ronald "Ronnie" Gilbert (Republican)

Garza County Tax Assessor Collector
Nancy Wallace (Republican)

Democratic County Chairman
Bebe Boren

Republican County Chairman
Trevor Thuett (Incumbent)

Both the Republican and Democratic Parties of Garza County have entered into contracts with County Clerk Jim Plummer to conduct a joint primary.

The uncertainty surrounding the 2012 primary election stems from a challenge to the State of Texas in a federal court in San Antonio based on claims that the maps for Congress and the state House and state Senate drawn by the Legislature earlier this year dilute the votes of minority Texans.

The U.S Supreme Court justices last month blocked maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio. They must decide whether to continue that stay or order some other course of action. The state prefers maps approved by the Legislature, which maximize Republican districts. Minority groups say the Legislature's maps illegally dilute the votes of minority Texans and prefer the San Antonio court's maps.

The Associated Press reported that at the beginning for a two week argument before a panel of federal judges, “lawyers for the state of Texas are arguing that Democrats and minority groups had ample time to weigh in on redistricting maps that are being challenged in federal court and Democrats had ‘enormous’ influence before the new maps were finalized.

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