COMAL COUNTY - With Election Day come and gone, it's official - Jennifer Owens Tharp is the next Comal County District Attorney and Sherman Krause is the next Comal County Judge.
Uncontested by a Democratic candidate Tuesday, Jennifer Owens Tharp won her race for Comal County District Attorney back in March's Republican primary.
She will take office on January 1, overseeing a team of 15 attorneys, victim advocates and support staff. On Election Day Tuesday, she was grateful for that early win that was buoyed by an early announcement for candidacy in August 2009, a week after current District Attorney Geoff Barr announced he wouldn't seek re-election.
"I was humbled by the overwhelming support that I got," Tharp said.
"I definitely prepared for a contested race. I was humbled and blessed not to have a (Democratic) opponent," she said.
Formerly an assistant Attorney General under Greg Abbott, Tharp has worked her way up through the ranks since 2004, when she started as the county's JP court prosecutor.
"We have a dedicated staff to serve the community and we want to do everything we can to keep it safe," she said, adding that she is looking at ways the office can serve the public even better.
"We are going to increase outreach efforts and make sure the public knows what our role is in the community ... and surrounding communities," she said, citing criminal and civil jurisdiction in areas outside the county seat of New Braunfels. The District Attorney's office also provides legal advice to the county and elected officials and handles juvenile cases.
"I would like to thank my family and everyone in this community that supported me, including all the amazing mentors that I had. I was born and raised here and it means so much to be able to represent this community," she said.
As Comal County's newly elected County Judge, Sherman Krause garnered almost 60 percent of the vote in March's Republican primarily, handily beating out Douglas Kirk and Glen Peterson for an uncontested spot in Tuesday's challenge.
He doesn't take for granted the lack of a Democratic challenger in his walk-in bid for the county's top job.
"The County Judge represents all the residents of Comal County. I look foward to representing all of Comal County and certainly hope to do the best job that I can," he said.
Krause said issues addressed in March's race will remain among his top priorities in office.
"There's mainly one issue, the growth of Comal County and how we deal with that growth and how we deal with changes that growth brings to our county," he said.
"There's a lot of things that we could name as issues but many of them fall under the category of population growth, or they're exacerbated by the growth in our county," Krause said, estimating Comal County's population growth at 50 percent since the 2000 census.
"That means since 1990, we've had over 100 percent increase in population," he said, pointing to stressors on transportation, roads and water availability, as well as stormwater runoff - "things that are impacted through commercial and residential development and how that new development affects other properties," he said.
The following candidates are running unopposed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
■ District Judge, 207th Judicial District Jack Robison - R
■ District Judge, 274th Judicial District Gary L. Steel - R
■ Judge, County Court at Law No. 1 Randy Gray - R
■ District Clerk Kathy H. Faulkner - R
■ County Clerk Joy Streater - R
■ County Treasurer Renee L. Couch - R
■ Justice of the Peace, Precinct No. 1 William L. Schroeder - R
■ Justice of the Peace, Precinct No. 2 Susan Dvorak - R
■ County Commissioner, Precinct No. 4 Jan Kennady - R
■ Justice of the Peace, Precinct No. 4 Jennifer Saunders - R