Runoff balloting to decide who will hold the Wharton County tax assessor-collector’s office gets under way Monday, one week after the campaign signs of one candidate were stolen in the City of Wharton.
Tax office employee Cindy Hernandez faces off against veterans advocate Sarah Hudgins in the Republican runoff, and the winner will not have to face a Democratic challenger in November.
Only registered voters who cast ballots in the March GOP primary or those who did not vote at all in the primary will be able to participate.
Early voting runs June 29 to July 10 for the primary election runoff with Election Day coming Tuesday, July 14.
Wharton County Elections Administrator Cindy Richter said she’s not anticipating a large turnout with just one item on the ballot.
“I am guessing 2,000 to 3,000 voters total,” Richter said.
The winner will, in January, take the post currently held by Grace Utley, a former deputy clerk appointed by the Wharton County commissioners court as tax assessor-collector in late 2018 following the resignation of Patrick Kubala.
Hernandez led the race during three-way GOP primary voting, but was unable to capture 51 percent of the vote.
In that election, 3,137 votes went to Hernandez, 2,691 to Hudgins and 1,135 to Jessica Schulze who did not make it to the run-off round.
The runoff was initially set for May 26, but was pushed back via governor’s order as the COVID-19 pandemic raged.
As Hernandez and Hudgins are preparing for the final push, Wharton PD continues its investigation into the theft of multiple Hernandez campaign signs.
Teenagers are suspected of the Monday, June 22 crime, according to Wharton Police Chief Terry Lynch.
A Democratic run-off ballot will also be available during the voting period, but has no local races on it.
Instead, those voters are asked to vote upon the U.S. senatorial runoff race between Mary “MJ” Hegar and Royce West along with the state railroad commissioner runoff between Robert R. “Beto” Alonzo and Chrysta Castaneda.
Democratic winners will earn their party’s nomination and a spot on the upcoming November ballot.
Early votes can be cast at El Campo Library – Mayors Room, 200 W. Church, in El Campo;Wharton County Annex D, Classroom 116, 315 E. Milam, in Wharton, and the East Bernard Library, 746 Clubside, in East Bernard,
Votes can be cast from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays Monday, June 29 to Wednesday, July 8 and from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9 and Friday, July 10.
Election Day balloting is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14.
Election Day votes can be cast at El Campo Library – Mayors Room, 200 W. Church, in El Campo; the Wharton Civic Center – Duncan Auditorium, and the East Bernard Library.