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Lamar County voters buck national trends

Super Tuesday saw the end of a long, drawn-out political battle with the reelection of President Barack Obama, even if Lamar County’s own voting didn’t reflect the national trend.

“I wasn’t too surprised at anything, either the local elections or the national election,” said Brady Fisher, chairman of the Lamar County Democratic Party. “I think the law of averages was that Barack Obama would win.”

The national results were not seen in Lamar County’s own polling, however. Mitt Romney earned 74.58 percent of the vote in Lamar County, while Obama snagged 24.29 percent.

“In every race in Lamar County where there was a Republican on the ticket, the Republican won by a substantial margin – in many cases, that was three to one,” said John Kruntorad, chairman of the Lamar County Republican Party. “People in Lamar County are very conservative. They enjoy conservative governance at the local level, and they certainly desire conservative governance at the national level.”

Countywide, 17,274 of 28,874 registered voters cast ballots, a turnout of 59.83 percent. Republican straight-party votes totaled 7,186, compared with 2,718 for Democrats.

“I am very, very happy with the Lamar County results,” Kruntorad said. “It speaks to the values that Northeast Texans hold are best reflected in the Republican platform.”

In the race for Precinct 3 Constable, Larry Cope won with 83.5 percent of the vote while challenger Chad Frazier earned 16.5 percent. In the race for Precinct 1 Constable,  Madaline Chance defeated challenger Rodney Smith, 75.48 percent to 24.52 percent.

District 1 State Senator Kevin Eltife won reelection. In Lamar County, he got 71.95 percent while challenger Stephen H. Russell garnered 28.05 percent.

Rep. Ralph Hall won reelection to the District 4 congressional seat. In Lamar County, he drew 72.95 percent of the vote while Democratic challenger Valinda Hathcox earned 24.33 percent.

In the race for Texas senator, Republican Ted Cruz – the ultimate winner – garnered 69.29 percent of the county’s votes. Democrat Paul Sadler won 28.35 percent.

Both Fisher and Kruntorad expressed a desire to see more cooperation between Republicans and Democrats going forward.

“I hope there will be more effort on everybody’s part to try to compromise more and do things for the good of the country,” Fisher said. “I hope we reach a point where ‘compromise’ is not a dirty word, and maybe a prominent Republican and a prominent Democrat co-sponsor legislation they thought would be beneficial for the country.”

That will be crucial since the race – and the country – was so narrowly divided, Kruntorad said. The nation is largely polarized, he said: The coasts tend toward the liberal while most of the interior is conservative.

“I think the people in Lamar County will say he will have to represent them, too, and work with the Republicans in Washington because 75 percent of the people in Lamar County didn’t vote for him,” he said.

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