Local elections this past weekend sent shock waves throughout the Republican Party. However, voters rejected liberal spending, shooting down local bonds that would have tacked on hundreds of millions more in debt.
A closer look at the races show Pct. 1 is in big trouble. Not a big surprise given the results of last November where every Republican candidate on the ballot landed under 50% in that precinct. In Cedar Park, two Republican incumbents fell, losing in a landslide. In Round Rock, one Republican fell while two others barely squeaked out a win. In Georgetown, all Democrats fell handily minus the now liberal district 6. In Hutto, things went as expected with Tim Jordan beating former disgraced councilman Mike Smith in a massive landslide. Place 1 candidate Scott Rose who garnered almost 45% in a three-way race landed in a runoff against Dana Wilcott.
Excuses by disgraced former Hutto councilman Michael Smith’s camp for his massive loss were borderline delusional. Smith lost to Tim Jordan by a whopping 52 points. In 2015, the State of Texas shut down several group homes operated by Smith for “serious and pervasive noncompliance”. Smith also owed back taxes from 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was forced to resign his council position in March for violating the City Charter. According to an in-depth investigative report by KXAN, Smith’s wife (who is President of the Wilco Young Republican’s) was found to have falsified personnel information for Smith’s business. Here is her odd take on the loss.
While a few party insiders continue to play Monday morning quarterback, making excuses instead of providing solutions, some saw this coming. Last week, Sun City Club VP Cathy Cody issued a stern warning….The Democrats aren’t coming, they are here, and if something isn’t done and done quickly, Williamson County will continue its slide blue.
In 2014, Judge Bill Gravell spoke at the Republican Party County Convention. In what many view as a prophetic statement about the future of the Republican Party in Williamson County, especially in Pct 1, Gravell said “Republicans in Williamson County, especially in Pct 1, must see the reality of what is happening and take action now or we will pay dearly later”.
Judge Gravell went a step further by challenging everyone in the room to go out and work to register new Republican voters in their precincts. In fact, Judge Gravell returned to Pct 3, and with the help of Sun City Republican leaders, they registered thousands of new Republican voters. Pct 1 did not heed his warning and are now suffering the consequences.
The Republican Party better face the harsh reality of what is happening and make the necessary changes that are badly needed to get the Republican train back on its tracks, especially in Pct. 1 (and now Pct. 2). It will take strong leadership from those like Cathy Cody to see that happens. If they do not, trending blue may soon be the “new normal” in Williamson County. This isn’t a candidate problem, this is a party problem.