February 27, 2018
The Elections Office Administrator for Midland County is asking that the news media help get out the vote because of low turnout.
Deborah Land pointed out in an email that her office has been hearing that early voting is already over, even though in reality it continues through this Friday.
By the weekend, only about 2,900 voters in Midland County had cast ballots, far below the 8,000 or so numbers back in 2014, a year that’s comparable because it was an off-presidential-election year and because there was at least one hot local race, just as there is this year.
And the fur is flying in the District 31 race between incumbent state Senator Kel Seliger and his Republican opponents Victor Leal and former Midland Mayor Mike Canon.
Most recently, Leal accused Seliger of failing to list a company called Thetford LLC in his campaign disclosures — Thetford being the owner of FrogAir LLC, which was indeed listed by Seliger’s campaign.
Leal claims FrogAir, which has a plane Seliger uses, is owned by Thetford, which in turn was set up by Brian Yarbrough, a lawyer that Leal claims is also a lobbyist.
Leal sent out a letter questioning why Yarborough is not mentioned among Seliger’s disclosures, calling Seliger’s relationship to Yarborough a “secret.”
In return, Seliger told Amarillo TV station KAMR that “I hired a lawyer down when I was in a wheelchair and I needed some legal help, so I got it and I paid for it.
“That is not any sort of business arrangement or partnership with a paid lobbyist.
“The disinformation here is what is more significant than the things people are telling the truth about.”
In an email last week to The Texas Energy Report, Seliger’s campaign explained, “It seems the Leal campaign, which was funded by the same people who funded Canon’s, is intended to try to split the vote and allow Canon to make a runoff.
“That has failed.
“It is not clear whether Leal is even aware of how he is being used or whether only his donors are aware.
“Leal might find it odd however that though he is funded by the same folks, his donors are only asking HIM to run negative ads while Canon attempts to keep his hands clean. It is transparent.”
If anything, you might think a onetime mayor going up against a popular incumbent might spur some voting — and indeed, the final few days of early voting may see an uptick.
And while other counties in Texas are reporting “soaring” voter turnout, especially by Democrats, that so far is not the case in Midland.
But it’s not just Republicans who appear to be yawning.
As the Midland Reporter Telegram put it, “Despite having a competitive race for the very high-profile position of governor, just 251 Democrats cast a ballot in person during the first week of early voting.
“How low is 251? Well, the low daily total for Republicans was still 100 votes more than the Democrats’ total for the week.
“Here’s a second statistic that should motivate Democrats – Republicans have cast more than 89 percent of all in-person ballots during early voting thus far.”