By Tim Fleischer Editor-in-Chief
Despite predictions of a blue wave nationwide, Precinct 203 (Salado) remained devoutly Republican in the 2018 midterm elections, voting for GOP candidates by a four to one margin.
The biggest surprise of the election was a race that most people in Bell County thought Republican Brad Buckley had in the bag.
Buckley will be elected to the State House District 54, but it will be due to voters in Lampasas County, not his home county of Bell.
With all Bell County precincts reporting, Richerson led Buckley by a narrow margin, 20,805 votes to 19,911 for Buckley.
District 54 includes part of Bell County and all of Lampasas County.
Buckley carried Lampasas County with 80.87 percent, tallying 6,013 votes compared to Richerson’s 1,417 votes.
This was enough to give him a narrow win. Buckley tallied 54 percent with 25,924 votes while Richerson had 21,779.
Several of the precincts in western Bell County went heavy toward Richerson, including precincts 210, 404, 405 and 408.
Salado’s Precinct 203 voted overwhelmingly for Buckley, who moved here from Killeen, giving him 82.74 percent of the vote, 3,702 to Richerson’s 772.
Salado also voted heavily for Rep. John Carter, with 3,501 votes to MJ Hegar’s 932 votes.
He can thank Salado and Bell County specifically for being returned to Washington. Bell County remained a deep red county with Carter taking 56.83 percent of the vote, 44,912 votes to Hegar’s 33,047.
Interestingly, a big chunk of Killeen was carved out of Bell County and put in District 25. That precinct overwhelmingly voted Democrat this time, with unknown Julie Oliver getting 4,787 votes to Republican incumbent Roger Williams 1,794. Had that part of the county been in District 31, the outcome might have been different.
Rep. Carter will win the seat with 143,330 votes with all but one Williamson County precinct reporting, compared to Hegar’s 134,675 votes. Hegar beat Rep. Carter in Williamson County (both live there) 101,628 to 98,418 but Bell went heavily for Carter.
Williamson County, once a deep red county, is apparently turning blue this time around, with Beto O’Rourke and MJ Hegar both outpacing Republican incumbents Ted Cruz and John Carter.
In 2016, Rep. Carter won re-election by more than 20 percent over Mike Clark and by more than 32 percent over Louie Minor in 2014.
Ted Cruz was successfully re-elected to the U.S. Senate, outlasting Beto O’Rourke by a narrow margin.
In 2012, Cruz was elected to his first term as the U.S. Senator from Texas by a large margin, winning 56.46 percent of the vote with 4.44 million votes compared to Paul Sadler’s 3.19 million votes.
While the U.S. House may have turned Democratic in 2018, Texas remains Republican, Bell County remains heavily Republican and Salado remains deeply Republican.