Big Country

ELECTION 2012: Anticipation grows for today's runoff elections in Taylor County

Election day is today -- yes, Tuesday, July 31.

There are two runoff races in Taylor County drawing much attention and don't forget about the runoffs in the race for U.S. Senate.

"You have to go back years to see this kind of excitement," said Paul Fabrizio, a political science professor at McMurry University. "Judging that more than 6,000 people did early voting, that's very good for the middle of the summer."

The Republican runoff for Taylor County Sheriff surely helped attract many of those voters.

Incumbent Les Bruce faces one of his own deputies -- challenger Ricky Bishop.  There is no Democrat in the general election.

Also on the ballot is the race for Precinct 1, Place 1 Justice of the Peace between Lydia Long, a professor of criminal justice at McMurry, and Mike McAuliffe.

They two are running fora spot being vacated by Judge Bryan Smith.

"The candidates have made this race interesting -- and that's to their credit. All of a sudden there are signs out, they're spending cash, going around trying to get a vote," Fabrizio said.

Voters will also be deciding the Republican and Democratic nominee for a U.S. Senate seat.

The Democrats in the runoff are former Texas State Rep. Paul Sadler and retired educator Grady Yarbrough.

"The Democratic one is, I don't want to say meaningless, but the State of Texas hasn't elected a Democrat statewide in a dozen years, longer than that really," said Fabrizio.

The Republican race, between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz is grabbing more attention.

"Yes, there has been a slew of negative ads, but David Dewhurst has made no attempt to hide that he is part of the Republican establishment in the state. Ted Cruz comes along and says, 'Yeah , if you want the establishment go with Dewhurst, but if you want someone who is going to change things, then the person you want is Ted Cruz," said Fabrizio.

Early voting ended Friday with 6,878 ballots cast in Taylor County.

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