Republicans sweep out Democrats in Somervell County

By Kathryn Jones


Somervell County is officially red after the elephants stampeded Tuesday night.

No Democratic Party candidate carried the county’s vote in a single race at the national, state or county levels in Tuesday’s election.

The only Democratic incumbent on the ballot, Alan Thompson, was trounced  by Republican Craig Dodson for County Constable, Precinct 2. Dodson won almost 70 percent of the vote.

Former Somervell County Democratic Party Chairman Marty McPherson garnered the highest percent vote of any Democrat on the ballot — 33 percent — in his bid for County Commissioner, Precinct 3. But Republican challenger Kenneth “Woody” Wood’s won by a landslide with 67 percent.

In the presidential race, it was almost no contest. Incumbent Democrat Barack Obama won a little over 17 percent of the county vote to Republican Mitt Romney’s more than 81 percent. “Romney/Ryan” political signs were all over the county.

Of the 1,811 people who voted a straight party ticket, more than 84 percent went Republican.

The GOP candidates’ clean sweep is a turnabout from the county’s early political history. According to the Texas State Historical Association,  Somervell County voters favored the Democratic candidate “in virtually every presidential election from 1892 through 1948; the only exception occurred in 1928, when Republican Herbert Hoover took the county.”

Political alignments began to shift after 1952. When Republican Dwight Eisenhower carried the county over Democrat Adlai Stevenson, “the area began to trend Republican,” the Texas State Historical Association writes in The Handbook of Texas. “Though Democrats won majorities in the county in 1964, 1968, 1976, and 1980, Republicans took the county in 1956, 1960, 1972, 1984, and 1988.”

Somervell County Republican Party Chairperson DeeDee Jones pointed out that independent candidate Ross Perot  won a plurality of the county vote in 1992. George W. Bush carried the county by a landslide  in 2000 and 2004.

Many candidates say privately they just can’t win running as a Democrat in Somervell County, although they add that in a smaller community people tend to vote for the person rather than the party. Local political observers opined that one of the reasons longtime former County Judge Walter Maynard lost his last reelection bid was because he ran as a Democrat and his challenger, former County Commissioner Mike Ford, ran as a Republican.

Other than McPherson, other Democratic candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot won no more than about 20 percent of the county’s total votes.




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