January 7, 2018
LUBBOCK, Texas – With the ballot set for party primaries in March, the Democratic presence in West Texas is growing. Democrat voters will have choices to make and party leaders said their momentum is just getting started.
County chair Stuart Williams said it has been an on-going effort building the party’s presence in a red city, in a scarlet region, of a crimson state.
“You can’t run, unless you got somebody in the game.” Williams said. “You don’t have anyone in the game, you’ve got to forfeit and we’ve forfeited too long. So we’ve got a team together, we’re gonna put them in the field, we’re going to see what happens.”
In District 84, Democrats will have to choose between Austin Carrizales and Samantha Carrillo Fields. The winner faces incumbent Rep. John Frullo in the general election. Fields first got involved with the party as a voter registrar. She noticed the number of registered voters was high, but there was nobody to vote for.
“I made it my point to give them somebody to run for, you know to go vote for,” Fields said.
Over the past year, Fields said she is witnessing a shift in West Texas.
“Every time we have those events, we see new people.” Fields said. “It’s not the same old faces, it’s not the same old ‘hey Kathy how are you’, it’s like ‘I haven’t met you before’, we get really excited about that.”
In part, she credits what has been going on nationally with the GOP.
“We kind of feel like our empathy towards the human race is what’s making us different from the GOP.” Fields said. “Because a lot of this legislation that they’re coming up with right now, with the tax bill and everything. It lacks empathy.”
Republican Chair Steve Evans acknowledged the division, but does not think it will have any effect on his candidates and incumbents.
“If you look at the country as a whole, I think the GOP is a little bit divided, but certainly not on a local or state level.” Evans said. “If you look at county and state parties, we’re quite unified.”
Daylan Flowers is running for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2. He said the current political climate is keeping West Texas open minded.
“At the very least, everybody needs to be registered to vote, because it’s important to vote.” Flowers said. “If you don’t have, if you aren’t registered to vote then you don’t have a dog in the fight.”
The party primaries are March 6th. The last day to register to vote in them is February 5th.