By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News
A record-number of Republican voters turned out for the March 1 primary election in Texas and Four Points Republicans were no exception.
“It’s unprecedented,” Tom Mechler, Texas GOP chairman, told the Texas Tribune. “It’s definitely historical.”
More than 2.8 million Republican ballots were cast in Texas, approximately double the 2012 Republican primary total of 1.4 million. In the Democratic primary, more than 1.4 million were cast, besting the 2012 totals but falling far short of the nearly 2.9 million Democratic ballots cast in the 2008 primary, when the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton drew strong interest.
More than 4.2 million Texans turned out to vote in the Republican and Democratic primary presidential elections, about 30 percent of registered voters.
Precincts 232 and 244 in Four Points also saw high voter turnout, with Republicans outnumbering Democratic voters in both precincts.
In Precinct 232, 27.5 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the Republican primary. There were 1,642 ballots cast, compared to 661 ballots in the Democratic primary.
In Precinct 244, 22.2 percent of registered voters voted in the Republican primary. There were 823 Republican ballots cast, compared to 522 ballots in the Democratic primary.
Trump, Clinton win in Four Points
While Sen. Ted Cruz was the statewide winner in the race to win the Republican nomination for president, Donald Trump was the winner among Four Points voters.
In Precinct 232, Trump won with 29.95 percent of the vote. Marco Rubio came in second place with 28.7 percent, defeating Cruz by only five votes. In Precinct 244, Trump also won with 29.4 percent of the vote. Rubio came in second with 28.6 percent, again narrowly defeating Cruz by only two votes.
In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton was the favorite among Four Points voters. In Precinct 232, Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by a wide margin, earning 60.6 percent of the vote. In Precinct 244, Clinton won with 52.9 percent.
In the race for District 47 state representative, incumbent Paul Workman defeated River Place resident Jay Wiley by a wide margin, even among Four Points voters. Workman received 59 percent of the vote in Precinct 232 and 57.2 percent in Precinct 244.
In an email sent the day after the election, Workman thanked his supporters.
“I am honored by the trust you have placed in me to continue to serve as your State Representative,” Workman said. “Yesterday’s victory in the Republican primary was a team effort, and I want to thank everyone who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and volunteered at a polling location to make this outcome possible. Sherry and I know this campaign couldn’t have done it without you, and we are blessed by your support.”
Wiley said the unusually high voter turnout played a part in his loss.
“Turnout was double what we expected and planned for so there were thousands of first-time primary voters who had no idea who the candidates were,” Wiley said. “Polls had us winning a tight race among regular Republican primary voters. My opponent had hundreds of thousands that he spent on TV and radio and, in the end, name ID won it among people who weren’t regular primary voters.”
Wiley said he knocked on more than 7,000 doors and wrote more than 5,000 handwritten notes to voters as well as ran an aggressive mail campaign to Republicans.
“In the end, the guy with more money won – it’s as simple as that,” Wiley said. “Paul Workman ran a very underhanded campaign spreading half-truths and outright misrepresentations about me personally while we stuck to his record in office. I’m proud of the kind of campaign we ran. It’s unfortunate because Four Points had an opportunity to have a much larger voice than ever before. I love Four Points and will keep fighting for lower taxes and limited government.”
New county GOP chair causing controversy
One Republican winner is already creating controversy after his March 1 win. Robert Morrow won in his bid to be the new Republican chairman for the Travis County Republican Party. Morrow received 56.4 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent chairman James Dickey.
Morrow is a conspiracy theorist known for his vulgar and obscene social media posts, according to a recent Austin American-Statesman interview.
“The inflammatory tweets are to get people’s attention and direct them to the truth and the reality of the criminal vermin who are running American politics,” Morrow told the Statesman. “It gets people’s attention, and they start reading the research that’s lying right before their eyes, the truth that the scumbags in the mainstream media will not tell you.”
On the night of the primary, Morrow spent most of election night tweeting about former Gov. Rick Perry’s sexual orientation and former President Bill Clinton’s penis, and insisting that members of the Bush family should be in jail.
TCRP vice chair Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist, immediately announced over social media that he would do everything in his power to remove Morrow from office.
“We will explore every single option that exists, whether it be persuading him to resign, trying to force him to resign, constraining his power, removing his ability to spend money or resisting any attempt for him to access data or our social media account,” Mackowiak told the Texas Tribune. “I’m treating this as a coup and as a hostile takeover.”
County chairs are elected every two years.