Thursday, November 6, 2008

Commissioner Parker re-elected

Congratulations Commissioner Parker on winning re-election.

You're a good man and Comal County is a better place because you're here.

Parker declared winner after all

By Chris Cobb The Herald-Zeitung

In what was one of the closest — and certainly the most unusual — local races in Tuesday’s election, incumbent Precinct 3 Comal County Commissioner Greg Parker narrowly held onto his seat against Democratic challenger Ramon Chapa Jr.Parker won by carrying just more than 51 percent of the vote.

But when all of the county precincts originally were counted Tuesday night, Chapa was the one ahead in the polls — by 193 votes. The race flipped when processing errors by elections officials forced them to start over and re-tabulate all of the votes from every race at around 9 p.m. When they had finished, Parker won by a margin of 118 votes.“I went to bed last night after giving my concession speech, and I thought it was over,” Parker said. “I woke up this morning and found out I was the winner.”

Comal County Clerk Joy Streater said elections officials had been pushing the wrong button while adding the electronic voting totals to the county database, accidentally adding votes they shouldn’t have been. Once the mistake was realized, they were forced to start over. Once the votes were counted for the last time, Parker officially had 2,557 votes to Chapa’s 2,439. There are still around 300 military mail-in ballots that have not been counted, but not all of them are from Precinct 3, and Streater said there probably wouldn’t be enough to change the outcome.

Chapa said he might always be somewhat skeptical about how the votes were counted but thought the election coordinators were honest and should be commended for their work in Tuesday’s election.“It was kind of odd the way they tabulated those results, but I was there last night and was able to see firsthand how hard they worked,” Chapa said. “We’re disappointed that it didn’t turn out favorably for us, but we ran a good campaign, and we can hold our heads up high.”Chapa said he didn’t know his plans for the future and didn’t rule out the possibility of a recount.

“It wasn’t meant to be for me, but I feel with my experience and my contacts in this region, I could have done a lot for this community,” he said.

Barring any unforeseen changes, Parker will begin his second term on Commissioners Court in January. “I’m going to continue to work for Precinct 3 and would like to thank all of the individuals that supported my campaign,” Parker said.