Local campaigns rolled out across Comal County and New Braunfels over the weekend, spending last-minute fundraising errands to hang out with voters.
Races for District 73 Texas House, 207th District Court Judge, County Court No. 1 and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace had the most campaign contributions and expenses among local primary races from March 1 for the periods ending on January 20 and February 20. 19.
That probably doesn’t matter to those who went to the polls on the last day of early voting to cast 4,911 votes at the county’s six polling stations. Elections administrator Cynthia Jaqua said Comal County will field 25 polling places on Tuesday, hoping to add high totals.
Jaqua said early voting, which began Feb. 14 and ended at 5 p.m. Friday, saw 14,824 in-person ballots at the six sites and another 3,335 by mail for a total of 18,159 – which rebounded nicely given that the county had just 3,622 early votes in the first four-plus days.
With the ramifications of Senate Bill 1 reducing the number of accepted requests for mail-in ballots, the county’s mail-out total will be well below this election, and Comal’s 6.83% turnout. (out of 124,117 registered voters) is well below the turnout of 23.59% for 2018 off-year voting.
Guadalupe County tallied 10,598 votes during the period (out of 115,293 registered), but will have 35 in-person polls to accommodate voters today.
“We had a change in voting location in your area that I would like voters in Guadalupe County of New Braunfels to be aware of,” Elections Administrator Lisa Hayes said. “Grace Church (at 3240 FM 725) was unavailable for this election so the vote was transferred to Redemptive Grace Ministries at 2240 FM 725. This is on the same side of the road as Grace Church but closer to New Braunfels.”
Local national positions include the U.S. Representatives for Districts 21 and 35 in Comal County and Districts 15 and 35 in Guadalupe County. State offices include Texas Senate Districts 19, 21, and 25 and Texas House Districts 44 and 73.
Comal seats include county judge; commissioners, in constituencies 2 and 4; criminal district attorney, attorney in County Court No. 1; treasurer; county clerk; district clerk; the four justices of the peace and the judges of the county’s 207th, 274th, and new 466th judicial districts. Guadalupe’s seats include all of the above, two county courts at law, and the new 456th Judicial District.
207th Justice Jack Robison, first elected in 1994 and in his seventh term, and Precinct 4 JP Jennifer Saunders, elected in 2002 and in his fifth term, are stepping down from county races.
Four are in the running for Robison’s job; two for JP 4 and CCAL-1. Unopposed in the primary and general elections and secured new terms in January, 274th District Court Judge Gary Steel, 466th District Court Judge Stephanie Bascon, Treasurer Renee Couch, DA Jennifer Tharp, Precinct 2 Commissioner Scott Haag District 4 Commissioner Jen Crownover, the three remaining Justices of the Peace – Tom Clark, Rick Walker and Mike Rust, District Clerk Heather Kellar, County Clerk Bobbie Koepp and County Judge Sherman Krause.
Sites in both counties will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. To learn more, visit the County Elections website, www.co.comal.tx.us/Elections.htmor the election link on the Texas Secretary of State website, www.sos.state.tx.us. Those with questions should contact the Comal County Elections Office at 221-1352 or votecomal.com.
Financial reports in
Campaign finance reports required by the Texas Ethics Commission, covering donations and expenses received between Jan. 1 and Jan. 20, were due Jan. 31 and Jan. 21-Feb. 19 periods were due on the 21st of February.
The state’s campaign finance law, outlined in Title 15 of the Texas Election Code, requires periodic reporting up to and shortly after primary elections. Financial reports are also required on the 30th and eighth days before the primary, with final reports due after the primary or May run-off.
D73 Chamber/D25 Senate
The Herald-Zeitung’s review of the past two periods showed that in the GOP District 73 home race, most funds raised went to former Mayor Barron Casteel of New Braunfels and Carrie Isaac of Dripping Springs. .
Casteel reported $143,795 in funds raised during the periods, $132,511 in expenses and $34,548 in cash. Isaac reported contributions of $59,175, expenses totaling $112,196, and $19,000 remaining on hand. Former New Braunfels City Council member George Green received $450 in contributions, $1,424 in expenses and $3,034 in cash during the period ending Jan. 31.
Justin Calhoun, the lone Democratic candidate, who the website says also hasn’t updated since Dec. 31, said the same $4,888 in contributions, $3,239 in expenses and $609 in cash, with $700 outstanding loans as shown in the first period. .
District 25 State Senator Donna Campbell continues to outperform and outspend Lakeway financial analyst Channon Cain, who continues to report not having raised or spent a dime through Feb. 19.
His political action committee, Friends of Donna Campbell, listed $224,979 in contributions, $425,453 in expenses and $863,312 in cash.
Cain brought in nothing for the period—raised, spent, or otherwise available cash—nor did his PAC, Friends of Channon Cain, which for the first period brought in contributions of $935; expenses totaling $15,329 and $25,000 in outstanding loans with $3,665 in hand. The lone Democratic candidate, Robert Walsh of San Antonio, listed $482 in expenses and $48 in contributions, but that was also for the first reporting period.
207th District Court
Tracie Wright-Reneau raised $6,630 and spent $27,018 through Feb. 19, leaving her with $16,015 in cash. Charmaine Wilde of San Marcos reported $2,000 in contributions, $708 in expenses and $11,521 in cash, while Mark Cusack of Wimberley reported $1,300 in contributions, no expenses, $3,500 in outstanding loans and 250 $ cash. And George Carroll of New Braunfels listed contributions of $2,705, expenses of $23,104, $18,500 in outstanding loans and $5,959 in cash.
Constituency 4 JP
Through Feb. 21, Ashley Evans of New Braunfels has raised and spent more than any other candidate for local office. She raised $10,409 and $5,860 over the past two periods for a total of $21,766, with expenses totaling $20,100 and $3,352 in cash. She raised $9,823 for the period ending January 20 and $2,006 for the period ending February 21, spending a total of $15,660 in contributions and an additional $4,155 in in-kind donations.
His opponent, Mike Britt of New Braunfels raised $11,500 for the first period and none for the remaining two periods. He spent $6,473 in the January reporting period and $2,449 in the third, leaving him with $128 in cash.
Court of Justice No. 1
The county’s second highest fundraising and spending campaign features incumbent Randy Gray against Spring Branch challenger Marilee Hazel. Prominent local attorneys contribute to both campaigns, alongside local Republicans and local PACs.
Gray secured a $5,000 loan from Houston-area businessman John Puryear, the bulk of his term financing. After totaling $3,520 and $3,800 in dues over the past two periods, his expenses totaled $9,963 and $9,569, respectively. Gray spent $4,284 and $602 in personal funds. He has $5,038 in cash on hand.
Hazel, who reported $6,675 in contributions and $6,782 in expenses during the second period, reported $1,350 in contributions and $10,713 in expenses through Feb. 10. She has $6,423 in outstanding loans and $85 in cash.