Voters psyched, but not so much for runoffs


Voters waited in line Tuesday at the North Hi Mount Elementary polling place in Fort Worth.
Voters waited in line Tuesday at the North Hi Mount Elementary polling place in Fort Worth. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Texans were fired up about making their voices heard in the presidential nominating process and other races in Super Tuesday’s party primary elections.

Almost 4.3 million voters cast ballots, according to preliminary figures from the Secretary of State’s office. That’s slightly more than the 4.2 million in the 2008 primaries, which featured a contest between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

This year’s numbers included almost 2.9 million Republican ballots and a little more 1.4 million for the Democrats.

A handful of races will go to May 24 runoffs, when turnout can be expected to drop sharply. Voters will be focused on other things by then, plus municipal and school elections on May 7 may lead to voter fatigue.

There will be a runoff in the high-profile race for Tarrant County sheriff, plus some statewide and judicial races.

Longtime Sheriff Dee Anderson is in a runoff with Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn. Anderson got 48.59 percent of Tuesday’s vote; Waybourn got 40.67 percent.

Republicans Elizabeth Kerr and Dabney Bassel are in a runoff for the 2nd Court of Appeals, based in Fort Worth.

Republican and Democratic candidates for a seat on the Railroad Commission will face runoffs, but longtime Fort Worth legislator Lon Burnam won’t be among them. The commission regulates the Texas oil and gas industry.

Burnam was eliminated from the Democratic race on Tuesday. It now goes to a runoff between former San Antonio schoolteacher Grady Yarbrough and Austin political operative Cody Garrett.

More hotly contested will be the Republican race for the commission seat between Rosenberg real estate investor Gary Gates and former state Rep. Wayne Christian of Center.