What were the take-home lessons from the primary elections? Here’s our top 5:
1. The race for county judge in the Republican Primary was close. The incumbent, Mark Henry, won with less than 52 percent of the vote, defeating Michelle Hatmaker.
The word on the street attributed the close call to two things. First is the political muscle of Cheryl Johnson, the county tax assessor-collector and a frequent critic of Henry. Second is a protest vote among some people from the southern part of the county.
For years, so the conventional wisdom goes, people from the southern part of the county ran the courthouse and ignored the interests of those in the North County. At least some people think Henry is returning the favor, rather than trying to represent the entire county.
2. Joe Giusti was the leading vote-getter in the GOP primary for county commissioner, Precinct 2. He’s headed toward a runoff May 27 with incumbent Kevin O’Brien. Giusti had 1,604 votes to O’Brien’s 1,503 in a six-way race that drew 5,718 voters.
Will those who supported other candidates support the challenger, as a sign of discontent with O’Brien, or will they fall back in line?
Insiders are watching Andy McDonald, who finished third with 750 votes. The Santa Fe businessman has deep roots in Precinct 2. Conventional wisdom says his endorsement will be huge and might be decisive.
3. In statewide races, two officials with ties to Galveston County did not carry the county in the GOP primary.
Steve Stockman, who once represented the county in Congress, got 31.82 percent of the votes in the county in his race for the U.S. Senate, while incumbent John Cornyn got 40.14 percent. Jerry Patterson, who once represented the county in the Texas Senate, got 21.8 percent of the county’s vote in the GOP primary in his race for lieutenant governor. Dan Patrick got 42.17 percent of the county’s vote.
You could make the argument based on those races — and some people are — that GOP voters in Galveston County are more conservative than GOP voters in Texas as a whole.
4. At least some voters are confused that campaigns for primaries are overlapping campaigns for municipal and school board elections.
The fact that the primary runoffs will follow the city and school elections will just compound that confusion. One reader blistered The Daily News for failing to provide results of the mayor’s race in Wednesday’s edition. The only excuse for the absence of results, of course, is that the election is still two months away.
5. Countywide voting centers, which allow you to vote at any poll regardless of where you live, are the way to go. You can’t beat the convenience, and the returns are reported promptly — even in the primaries. Amazing.
• Heber Taylor