From the jaws of victory
by Chip Latcham
Mar 21, 2014 | 266 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Talk about being blindsided.

In this week’s Refugio County Press, Editor Tim Delaney reported that an anonymous tip will result in two elected county officials not being able to appear on the general election ballot.

Apparently, the two officials, County Commissioner Stanley Tuttle and County Treasurer Elaine Henning, both Democratic candidates who are well liked in their community, voted in the Republican primary, which is prohibited by the Election Code.

The part of the code, not known generally, is Section 162.015.

Rachael Garcia, Refugio County elections administrator, said other violations of the same section have been reported across Texas, Delaney reported.

Voters in general can vote for whoever they want, but candidates cannot vote in an opposing party primary.

Although it seems awfully harsh, and could be considered by some a technicality, the names of the two county officials will be removed from the general election ballot and they will not be allowed to be write-ins for those positions.

The Refugio County Democratic Party chairman will have the responsibility to nominate qualified candidates for those positions for the Nov. 4 general election.

When contacted Thursday, Bee County election officials said they were “not aware” of such incidents occurring in our county’s primaries.

County Clerk Mirella Escamilla Davis previously had cautioned voters that if they sign a petition for a candidate, they had to vote in that party’s primary. But we were not aware of the candidates’ prohibition.

Of course, in the general election cycle, it has been common to hear of some local Democrats endorsing and/or actively supporting Republicans, and vice versa.

Yet let this serve as a lesson for those whose names appear on the ballot in the county party primaries (and one would assume the runoffs) in the future.

Don’t run for office in one party and vote in the other’s primary, or (if caught) a politician could quickly turn from celebrating a victory to being defeated on an Election Code violation.

That would be akin to losing a bowl game on a controversial interference penalty.
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