More than 1.5 million Texan Republicans cast their ballots in the first statewide primary since President Donald Trump was elected to office. But in Foard and Zavala counties, not one voted.
In Foard County, near the Texas-Oklahoma border, only one person showed up to the polls. Zavala County, about 100 miles north of Laredo, didn't even hold a primary.
The counties, which are heavily Democratic, don’t have GOP chairs. Zavala County Clerk Oralia Trevino said her county didn’t hold a Republican primary for this reason. She said the county could have contracted with the state to provide Republican ballots but that she "called too late."
"There wasn't enough time, and I was very busy with doing the Democratic primary," Trevino said.
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This is not the first time the county didn’t offer a GOP primary, she said. Officials made the same decision years ago — Trevino said she couldn’t remember the exact election cycle — for similar reasons.
As for Foard County, Clerk Debra Hopkins said she did contract with the state for the GOP primary, but she got no Republican mail-in ballots during early voting. When Election Day came, only one Republican voter showed, and later decided against casting a ballot.
“There have been many years we didn’t have [a GOP primary] because we didn’t have a Republican Party,” Hopkins said. “After a while, the Republican Party contracted with us when we had the presidential race with Trump.”
In the past, both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas have not held primaries in counties where they were unable to recruit party chairs. On Tuesday, the Texas Democratic Party held elections in all 254 counties, administrative assistant Adam Zimmerman said. The Republican Party of Texas confirmed Zavala County was the only one that didn't have a GOP primary.
Ryan Murphy contributed to this report.