Last week, Amarillo Republicans made a historic change, flipping a longtime local Democrat-controlled precinct red.

On Tuesday, Republicans Blair Schaffer and Robert Taylor scored victories in elections held in Potter County Precinct 2. The precinct encompasses most of east and part of north Amarillo, and has been represented almost exclusively by Democrats since at least the 1970s.

Schaffer defeated incumbent Democrat County Commissioner Robert Ruiz, 59 percent to 41 percent. Schaffer, a firefighter, will be the first Republican to represent the precinct in over 30 years. County Judge Nancy Tanner appointed Ruiz to the county commission to replace Democrat Commissioner Mercy Murguia last year.

With Schaffer’s victory, the lone Democrat on the county commission will now be Warren Coble, who was elected unopposed this year to represent the northern part of the county.

Meanwhile, Taylor won re-election as justice of the peace, defeating Sheriff Deputy David Deleon, 62 percent to 38 percent. Taylor won a surprise upset to become justice of the peace in 2018; this year, he was targeted by local Democrats who had hoped to prove his previous victory to be a fluke.

Potter County Republican Party Chairman Dan Rogers had named the two races as top priority elections this year. In the days before the election, the local party sent out several emails and mass texts directing local Republicans to vote for Schaffer and Taylor.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.

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