Hays County Democrats gathered at Cafe on the Square Tuesday night for a primary election watch party.
Community members active in the Democratic Party ate dinner and conversed about politics as they tracked the election results throughout the night.
“We like to get together and do it as a community because it helps reinforce our belief in what we’re doing,” said Jon Leonard, Hays County Democrats party chair. “It just helps us be stronger as a party.”
Leonard said the results of the primary elections are good for the Democratic Party at a local and national level.
With 61.15% of the votes, Tom Wakely won as the Democratic candidate for District 21 U.S. Representative.
With 65.72% of the votes, JoAnne Prado is the Democratic candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1 Place 1. With 45.30% of the votes, Maggie Hernandez Moreno won as the Democratic candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1 Place 2.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won 51.71% of the Democratic votes in the county.
The national election for president helps increase voter turnout as more people pay attention, Leonard said.
“There was so much action in both parties it helped drive a much larger turn out than usual in Hays County and San Marcos for primary elections,” Leonard said.
Leonard said the importance of campaigns and elections encouraged citizens to vote. He said “intensely competitive” local races helped increase voter turnout.
“The key element of democracy is an involved elector and an informed public,” Leonard said.
Linda Rodriguez, lifelong Democrat and former elected official, said 2016 is an interesting election year. Rodriguez thought it was interesting that Hillary Clinton did not win at the county level.
Rodriguez said Hays County is demographically diverse and San Marcos elections are influenced by Texas State students and faculty. Democrat voters might have surpassed Republican voters in Hays County, she said.
“(The November general election) is going to decide how our country goes the next four years and so many issues that are so important to every segment of our population,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be very important to get as much voter turnout as possible.”
A few Texas State students were present at the watch party.
Marina Zamora, social work senior, said she attended the watch party to meet other Democrats.
Zamora said she hoped some of the candidates would have attended to celebrate as a party, but understood they were likely with their families. She believes participating in elections is important.
“Everyone just needs to exercise the right to vote,” Zamora said. “I want to see more young people into voting, not just for the general election, but every election.”