State representative race will see recount

by Crystal Gottfried, Staff Writer

On election night, Comal County reportedly had 79 absentee ballots received in the last week.

Texas House District 73 election officials have received 11 of the 94 outstanding overseas ballots that might change the outcome of the race between Carter Casteel and Nathan Macias.

Bandera and Kendal counties did not have any outstanding overseas mail-in ballots, but Gillespie County election officials were waiting for thirteen ballots.

Although Casteel conceded the race for the 73rd District House of Representatives seat to Macias last week after all the ballots had been counted, showing that she was 45 votes short, Macias has only tentatively acknowledged victory.

Casteel has since decided to call for a recount, which along with the outstanding mail-in ballots may determine that she returns to Austin for a third term.

Section 212.028 of the Texas Election Code, Casteel has 48 hours from the time the vote is made official (canvassed) to request a recount.

According to Comal County Clerk Joy Streater, the overseas ballots must be postmarked by March 7 and would be counted on March 16 to allow the Republican Party to make its March 17 canvassing deadline. If more ballots are received after the original canvassing, the votes will be counted and the total will be revalidated.

Casteel will need to call for a recount by March 19 if no other overseas ballots arrive between March 16 and the March 20 deadline for mail-in ballots.

In the meantime, Casteel told reporters last week that she had received more than 1,000 calls and e-mail messages from supporters asking her to call for the recount, but she indicated that she was not holding her breath that the outcome would be any different.

Comal County commissioners were also tentative about their new Texas House representative and what kind of relationship they would have with Macias. They have not yet met with Macias and expressed some concerns that he might not be as receptive to the legislative needs of county government.

Macias acknowledged in an interview last Thursday that his relationship with the county could be different, however he plans to wait until the results of the March primary is confirmed before he begins contacting county officials across the district, to introduce himself and discuss their concerns.

Macias said that he was conducting a "Where do we go from here?" meeting with his staff instead of discussing a series of issues in the media. He plans to meet personally with the four county governments in the 73rd District.

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