As I look over last week’s election returns for Dickens and Kent counties I notice a trend that has materialized over the past decade. While the majority of the U.S. voted for Democratic candidates, the majority of voters in Dickens and Kent counties voted for Republicans, something I’m told was unheard of 15 or 20 years ago. It may come as a surprise to area voters, but this trend has steadily grown and was dominant not just last week but in previous elections.
Last week in Dickens County approximately 73 percent of voters cast votes for Republican candidates, 25 percent of voters cast votes for Democratic candidates, and 2 percent voted for Libertarian candidates. In Kent County election returns, 68 percent of voters cast votes for Republicans, 28 percent cast votes for Democrats, and 4 percent cast votes for Libertarians. In Dickens County 246 voted a straight Republican ticket compared to 116 who voted a straight Democratic ticket. In Kent County 76 voted a straight Republican ticket compared to 44 voting a straight Democratic ticket.
Four years ago in the general election voters in both counties also voted Republican: 78 percent of votes cast in Dickens County was for Republican candidates, and only 20 percent of the votes cast went to Democratic candidates with the remaining 2 percent of the votes going to Libertarians. In Kent County, 63 percent of votes were for Republicans, 35 percent for Democrats, and 2 percent for Libertarians.
When I purchased the newspaper a little more than 12 years ago, I was told no one running for local elected positions could get elected unless they ran on the Democratic ticket. Consequently no one in Dickens County, since I took over publication of The Texas Spur, has ever run for office as a Republican. Only one person in Kent County has run on the Republican ticket during my tenure, and, while she did not get elected, I think it may have had more to do with her being the new kid in town rather than being a Republican.
Now I don’t say this because I am here to tout the Republican Party. That’s not it at all. But I do want to draw my readers’ attention to the fact that, while Democrats are still alive and well in our midst, voting behavior, for the most part, reflects a Republican perspective. I, for example, don’t align myself with any particular party unless I have to vote in the Democratic Primary, as I did last March, in order to be able to vote in my local county election. What I am saying is it would be nice to be given the choice.
For more on this topic see my story in the November 13 issue of The Texas Spur.