SAN ANGELO, TX – The center of the political universe in west Texas was the Riverview Restaurant in San Angelo Thursday as most of the candidates running for congress in Texas' 11th Congressional District watched as the two candidates for Tom Green County Commissioner and Tom Green County Sheriff politely addressed a crowd twice as large as expected for the monthly meeting of the Concho Valley Republican Women club.
The CVRW has long been the center of grassroots power and activism in Tom Green County and is known across Texas as a formidable force in local politics. In fact, there's not one Democrat Party candidate for any local office on the ballot.
Precinct one long time incumbent County Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher is challenged by former Miles ISD trustee Cary Houston.
Commissioner Hoelscher outlined his reason for running for a fifth term on the court. He said unfunded mandates from the Texas legislature and a reduction in the rollback tax rate from 8 percent to 3.5 percent may force counties to cut services.
Houston said his experience as a school board trustee will be an asset to the commissioners court.
Then it was the candidates for Tom Green County Sheriff's turn to address the crowd.
TGC Sheriff's Lt. Keith Muncey went first. Muncey told a story about covering a fatal crash near Christoval and talked about working for the sheriffs office for 20 years.
Former Texas Ranger and current TGCSO chief deputy Nick Hanna focused on leadership positions with the Texas Department of Public Safety as a trooper and later ranger and highlighted some of the high profile cases he has worked on.
Perhaps the most controversial moment of the meeting came early on as TGC GOP chairman Jeff Betty addressed the crowded room. Betty has worked for over ten years building the Tom Green County Republican Party which is arguably one of the most successful in Texas.
Because of the huge crowd and the size of the venue, many in attendance couldn't hear the speaker from the podium. Betty is a tall man with a large voice and he shouted at the crowd to 'sit down and shut up' and listen. His passion for the party and the current political tension in Washington, D.C. was visible.
Betty has announced his current term as chairman of the TGC Republican Party is his last one.
There are no Democrats in local races in the 2020 March primary. Voters in the Democrat primary can vote for statewide office candidates, and national candidates.
There is a local attorney running unopposed in the Democrat primary for CD-11 congressman.
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