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Two Texas Counties Didn't Hold Runoff Elections

Amy Qualls-McClure via Texas Tribune

More than 1 million Texas voters participated in Tuesday's primary runoff elections, but none of them were from Sterling and Oldham counties. County clerks with both rural counties confirmed that they did not hold primary runoffs.

"Our Republican chairman had moved out of the county, so he was unable to do it and he was unable to find somebody to take his place in time," said Sterling County Clerk Susan Wyatt said, who added that the Democratic Party chair decided not to hold a runoff as well.

Sterling County, northwest of San Angelo, recorded 327 votes in the May primaries — 315 from Republicans and 12 from Democrats. The county has 864 residents of voting age.

Wyatt said she had to explain to a few Republicans who showed up to the county courthouse in Sterling City that they could not participate in the runoff.

"A few people were not happy about it, but none of them volunteered to step in and be Republican Party chair for this next time," Wyatt said. "Unfortunately when I asked, they would back out the door."

Oldham County, which is in the Panhandle, had county party chairs in place but no interest in holding runoff elections, County Clerk Becky Groneman said. 

"We haven't had a runoff election in several years," Groneman said. "The last time we had one, two people voted."

Oldham County recorded 252 votes in the May Republican primary and no votes in the Democratic primary. The county has a voting-age population of 1,354.

Groneman said it was up to County Republican Party Chairman Bruce Voyles to decided to hold a Republican primary runoff election. The party would have had to pay for all expenses except early voting, which would have been covered by the county, she said. Voyles could not be immediately reached for comment.   

In the closely watched race for an open U.S. Senate seat, both Oldham and Sterling Counties' Republican voters strongly favored Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the May primary. Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz won the Republican primary runoff Tuesday by more than 150,000 votes.