"I Voted" sticker. Credit: Iris Dimmick / San Antonio Report

Less than 12% of Bexar County’s registered voters bothered to turn out for the March 2014 primary elections. There are 916,408 registered voters, and only 109,430 made it to the polls.

Early voting, held February 18-28, once was seen as a mechanism to attract greater turnouts by making it more convenient for voters to cast their ballots at a time of their own choosing and avoid any lines on Election Day. More people now vote early, but the total vote tally has not improved.

A total of 69,056 people voted early, while 40,374 voted Tuesday. The Republican primary ballot attracted more voters, 64, 595, than the Democratic ballot, which drew 44,835 votes. That equals a 59.03% share for Republicans and 40.97% for Democrats.

Click here to review a full tally of Bexar County election results. Click here to read statewide Republican primary results. Click here to read statewide Democratic primary results.

In the two most important local races, incumbents in both parties prevailed.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff swept aside an improbable challenge from County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, winning nearly 57% of the vote against Adkisson’s 43%. Wolff will face former City Councilman Carlton Soules in November in an election that is shaping up to be a referendum on major urban renewal projects, including VIA’s modern streetcar and the San Pedro Creek restoration.

In his concession remarks that came three hours after the release of the early vote total made his defeat all but certain, Adkisson said he would work to re-elect Wolff. But the animus between the former Commissioners Court allies created during the campaign, which included a late, anonymous mailer accusing Wolff of engineering an inside land deal around construction of the Wurzbach Parkway, is bound to leave the two Democrats distant neighbors.

Republican challengers in San Antonio canceled each other out and failed to unseat Dist. 25 state Sen. Donna Campbell. Even at home in Bexar County, former City Councilwoman Elisa Chan (9, 799, 27.77%) and former County Commissioner Mike Novak (8,595, 24.35%) trailed Campbell’s commanding total (16,898, 47.88%). That weak performance by the two challengers was coupled with Campbell’s nearly 2-1 edge in Comal and other counties, more than enough to give her outright victory in the district, where she received 55.4% of the 73, 596 votes cast against Chan’s 24.3% and Novak’s 20.3%.

For Republicans in Bexar County, it means the District 25 state Senate seat will continue to be held by someone who does not live in San Antonio.

Republicans in the county had far more reason to watch state elections with the lieutenant governor’s race dominating the ballot. Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst again proved to be a weak  candidate when faced with serious opponents, and finds himself facing an uphill battle in a runoff. He finished a distant second (28.31%) to Houston talk radio host and state Sen. Dan Patrick (41.45%), while Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples  (17.76%) and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson (12.47%) and finished third and fourth.

In another interesting Republican primary that will be decided in a runoff, former Dist. 23 U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco seeking to regain his seat, finished with 40.37% of the vote, while Will Hurd finished slightly higher at 40.94%, with only 144 votes separating the two. Robert Lowry won 18.68%. That result suggests the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego might face less of a challenge in November than anticipated.

In the Democratic race for Bexar County District Attorney, a mere 50 votes separated the two challengers vying to take on incumbent Susan Reed in November. In the end, Nicholas “Nico” LaHood eked out a win over former prosecutor Therese Huntzinger, who won the early vote but finally fell as the last ballot boxes were tallied. LaHood received 20,410 votes, or 50.06%, while Huntzinger received 20,360 of 49.94%. With only a single percentage point separating the two candidates, a recount seems inevitable. LaHood lost badly to Reed in their last outing, but benefitted this time from support from several of the San Antonio Spurs.

The most interesting runoff on the Democratic side locally will be for the Precinct Four County Commissioner seat vacated by Adkisson. In a crowded field of six candidates, former City Councilwoman Debra Guerrero finished first with 3,033 votes, or 26.35% of the vote, with Tommy Calvert coming in a close second with 2,969 votes, or 25.89%. Four other candidates accounted for the remaining 47.7% of the vote.

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*Featured/top image:  Vox Efx

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Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard, co-founder of the San Antonio Report, is now a freelance journalist.