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Early Voters Will Have Big Say In Davis-Shelton Race

At the top of the Texas ticket, Republican Mitt Romney is expected to win and claim the state’s 38 electoral votes.

But down ballot there are some tight races across the state, and none is being watched more closely that the Texas Senate District 10 race in Tarrant County where Republican Representative Mark Shelton is trying to unseat Democrat Wendy Davis.

Tonight, when the early voting numbers are reported a few minutes after the polls close at 7:00, we’ll either know the likely winner or that the Davis-Shelton race is going to be a nail-biter to the end. That’s because more than half of all the ballots were probably cast before Election Day.

When high school teacher Mark Bomblatus voted in Senate District 10 he said he thought about education funding.

“I’d like to see smaller classrooms. I’d like to have a raise once in a while. We haven’t had a raise in four years,” he said.

But he wasn’t sure he wanted to pay more for the changes.

“I want to see taxes lowered I’d like to see welfare go away frankly,” he added.

Mary Catching, a retired teacher and grandmother, is also worried about cuts to public schools and says she’d probably pay a little more for good programs.

“They used to limit how many children you could have in a class but now they just increase, increase, increase,” said Catching adding, “Many of those courses like art and music are being taught by aids now.”

Her husband Jim Catching says character is important to him.

“I want people in office who are office and would do the things I would do.”

Several Senate District 10 voters including Renee Davis voiced concerns about access to healthcare and family planning.

“Give people the right to say yeah or nay about their own bodies,” said Davis. “ I think we all need health care, you know, to live.”

Four years ago Democrat Wendy Davis defeated the Republican incumbent by less than two percentage points. Since then District 10 has become a majority minority district though the Shelton campaign believes it still tilts Republican.

In a race marked by $6 million dollars in spending and some of the nastiest ads on TV the outcome will depend on the candidates’ ground games and who get their supporters to the polls.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.