The 2018 election season began with much fanfare but exited with a whimper in Gonzales County and Texas in general. Not much change will be seen around these parts as voters showed that Democrats have all but abandoned the county just as their last elected official calls it a career.
The Gonzales County Clerk's office had a late night Tuesday, with ballot tabulation stretching into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. When it was all sussed out, just 46.05 percent of local voters bothered to make it to the polls. That's higher than the last gubernatorial election but well short of the votes in the 2016 presidential election.
Straight-ticket voting — being used for the final time in Texas — saw Republicans mark 2,423 ballots for their candidates, while Democrats chose their party 868 times. The Libertarians only had 14 go all-in.
Statewide, voters chose to return current senator and failed presidential candidate Ted Cruz back to Washington, DC by the slimmest of margins, defeating El Paso native Beto O'Rourke by a score of 50.94 percent to 48.26 percent. Here in Gonzales County, voters thought more of the former Canadian over the former punk rocker, giving Cruz 4,171 votes, or 75 percent of the vote, to O'Rourke's 1,418 votes. Libertarian Neal Dikeman came out with 31 votes.
Another race on the federal level was that for U.S. Congressman for the 27th district, which includes Gonzales. Michael Cloud — who won a special election this summer to replace disgraced congressman Blake Farenthold — ran away with what can be technically called his first re-election campaign. Cloud got 124,958 votes across multiple counties compared to Democratic placeholder Eric Holguin and his 75,761 votes. Gonzales County voted 2,912 for Cloud and 993 for Holguin.
Voters in Nixon had another congressional district to vote in, which is just as gerrymandered. While their preference was for Republican Rey Gonzalez over incumbent Filemon Vela by a tally of 1,256-316, the district ultimately chose to return the South Texan Vela to DC by a vote of 85,647-57,157.
For state representative, John Cyrier was easily returned to office, besting Michelle Ryan 4,153-1,383 here. Across District 17, the vote was 33,462 for Cyrier and 20,033 for Ryan.
There were no local races on the ballot since Democrats did not bother to file against any of the county's Republican field. However, Gonzales County will have a new county judge come January when Pat Davis assumes the position. He snatched 4,636 votes unopposed and will replace Democrat David Bird, who is the last elected official representing his party here. There will also be a new county treasurer as Sheryl Barborak returns to office after winning her primary back in March. She got 4,575 votes in her uncontested race.
In other races, Gonzales County voted:
• Governor: Greg Abbott, 4,391; Lupe Valdez, 1,170; Mark Jay Tippets, 52
• Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick, 4,137; Mike Collier, 1,364; Kerry McKennon, 87
• Attorney General: Ken Paxton, 4,042; Justin Nelson, 1,414; Michael Harris, 113
• Ag Commissioner: Sid Miller, 4,086; Kim Olson, 1,360; Richard Carpenter, 93