Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delayed the upcoming primary runoffs from May to July after the coronavirus pandemic hit the state of Texas. The runoff election for the Democratic and Republican primaries is Tuesday, July 14.

Early voting begins Monday, June 29 and will continue through Friday, July 10. Voters who voted in the Republican primary in March cannot cross parties to vote in the Democratic primary — and vice versa. Voters who registered on or before Monday, June 15 can vote in this primary runoff election, even if they did not vote in the primary election in March.

Early Voting polling locations, dates and times in Wharton County:

Wharton County Annex D, Classroom 116315 E. Milam St., Wharton
East Bernard Library746 Clubside Dr., East Bernard
El Campo Library – Mayors room200 W. Church St., El Campo
Information obtained from the Wharton County Elections Office.
Monday, June 29 – Thursday,  July 2(8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Monday, July 6 –  Wednesday, July 8(8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Thursday, July 9 – Friday,  July 10(7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)
Information obtained from the Wharton County Elections Office.

request for application for ballot by mail must be submitted to the early voting clerk during the current calendar year and before the close of business on the 9th day before Election Day. If the 9th day is a weekend, the last day to submit an application is the preceding Friday, which is Friday, July 3.


Election Day polling locations, dates and times in Wharton County:

Wharton Civic Center – Duncan Auditorium1924 N. Fulton, Wharton 
East Bernard Library746 Clubside Dr., East Bernard
El Campo Library – Mayors room200 W. Church St., El Campo
Information obtained from the Wharton County Elections Office.

Election Day

Tuesday, July 14 | 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Democratic Ballot Information


United States Senator

Mary “MJ” Hegar


Royce West


Railroad Commissioner

Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo


Chrysta Castañeda

Republican Ballot Information


County Tax Assessor-Collector

Cindy Hernandez

Sarah L. Hudgins

The County Gin reached out to both Hernandez and Hudgins to ask a series of questions. Those questions and responses are below. The candidates appear in the same order as they are listed on ballot.

Cindy Hernandez

My name is Cindy Ovalle Hernandez. I am 49 years old and I am a lifelong resident of Wharton, Texas. 

What is the reason for seeking this position? 

Wharton County is my home and the community is very important to me. Through the years, I have loved serving and interacting within the community through various organizations, church activities, and events. Now, I have the opportunity to serve the community that I love through my career field. The constituents of Wharton County deserve a public official in this position that is well versed and prepared to take on such a large role. I am that candidate. By running for Tax Assessor-Collector, I am able to provide a valuable service to citizens while continuing the work that I love.  

What qualifications or assets would you bring with you to the office?

 I have worked in the Wharton county tax office for over 20 years. I began my tenure as a tax clerk and shortly thereafter moved over to motor vehicle clerk. I am now the chief deputy of the tax office — responsible for working with and training the current tax clerks in both the Wharton and El Campo offices. Over the years, I’ve developed very strong working relationships with the automobile dealers, title companies and the governing bodies of Wharton County.  I am well-versed in tax code as well as the TxDMV Title Manual, Registration Manual and Comptroller Tax Code.  

 Finally, since becoming chief deputy, I have joined the Tax Assessor Collectors Association of Texas (TACA). I have become certified by the State of Texas in calculating tax rates, appraisals, fraudulent automobile transactions, leadership, legislative leadership and TxDMV learning modules.  Both the certification process and joining TACA have introduced me to a valuable network of tax assessors, collectors and chief deputies — providing me with access to a huge wealth of knowledge from counties all over the state.

Why should voters choose you over your opponent? 

If elected, I would be a smooth transition from the current administration — there would be no gap or time loss due to required training or expense, as I am already trained and bonded to the county and staff. My 20+ years of experience has allowed me to become familiar with deadlines, timelines, and requirements from the state. The tax office processes approximately 15,000 transactions a month.  We help veterans, the disabled, organizations, cities and fire departments. I know the intricacies of serving our specific community — calculating tax rates, registration for commercial fleet vehicles, farm trucks and tractors, exemptions for schools, cities, fire departments, etc.

Additionally, I worked to make Wharton county one of the first counties in the state to begin using webDEALER – a program that streamlines titling and registration between the state and the assessor’s office. In return , Wharton County was awarded extra workstations at not charge to you, the taxpayer.

 If elected, what are your top three priorities in office? 

My number one priority would be making sure the tax office serves the public in the best way possible. To do this, I will ensure all employees stay ahead of new legislation and required training. In addition, we will be sure to keep the public aware if/when changes occur regarding automobiles and taxes. Most importantly, I will heed to the concerns of the constituents and make changes that benefit the county as a whole.

Second, I’d like to introduce more convenient methods of doing business. For instance, setting up point of sale locations in East Bernard or Louise, to make the tax office more accessible for citizens that live further away from the Wharton office.

Lastly, setting up a preservation system for county records. The Wharton County Tax Office has one of the oldest block book rooms in Texas. It contains records of land transactions and maps from the early 1900’s. Scanning and preserving the documents is important to prevent loss if the building is ever damaged. I would apply for preservation grants and coordinate with the Texas State Library on methods of preservation.

Sarah L. Hudgins

My name is Sarah L. Hudgins. I am 58 years old and reside in Wharton, Texas.

What is the reason for seeking this position?

I have been a Texas Licensed Real Estate Agent since 1998. I want to use my expertise on property taxes obtained from my real estate career to serve the citizens of Wharton County. Through my 22+ years of serving the community as a private citizen, I have voluntarily helped taxpayers with their property tax issues from stopping tax foreclosures, providing information on payment options, to which form to use, as well as provide them with property tax codes and laws that govern Texas property taxes. The first question I am asked in a real estate transaction is How much are the property taxes and how was this calculated?.

Through my real estate experience, I bring up the exemptions that they may qualify which will help lower their property tax. Some of the exemptions are homestead, over 65, disabled, disabled Veteran, Ag exemption, etc. I help them apply through the appraisal district to qualify for exemptions. I am fluent on tax rates and calculations using the appraised value. It has always been my desire to help others and serve the community. I will use my expertise on property taxes to the soul benefit of helping our taxpayers.

What qualifications or assets would you bring with you to the office?

The Tax Assessor-Collector is governed through the Texas Property Tax Codes and Laws and elected through the citizens of the county in which they serve. Per the Texas Legislature, The Assessor is the person who performs the tax rate calculations. Assessing is the process that the Assessor works through to calculate the tax rates and the Collector is the process you go through to collect the taxes. 22 years in Real Estate and serving as the Vice President of the ESD#3 taxing entity, I have the knowledge to calculate and collect taxes for the Wharton County Taxing Entities and have the expertise on the codes and laws that were put in place to benefit of our taxpayers. This is a win-win combination for our taxpayers and taxing entities.

Why should voters choose you over your opponent? 

There is a difference in being an Elected Official who oversees the department and someone who works as an employee in that department — both are needed and essential to make the department run efficiently. I respect all county employees and appreciate and thank them for the work they do and will support them in their duties. With my proven leadership skills and my expertise of the property tax process, I pledge to serve the community with integrity, honesty and hard work as a good steward of the taxpayer’s money. 

One main function of The Tax Assessor, set by the State of Texas, is to calculate tax rates from the certified appraisal roll for the County of Wharton (net taxable value $3,678,719,131 in 2019), which includes the Special Roads and Bridges and the certified appraisal roll for FM&LR (net taxable value $3,664,179,062 in 2019). The Wharton County Tax-Collector has 22 taxing entities (governing bodies that need tax money to operate) to cooperate in providing worksheets to adopt the tax rate and collect taxes for each entity. I shall work with these governing bodies, the taxpayer, the appraisal district and the delinquent tax attorneys to make the process run smoothly, be issue free, and as efficiently as the previous Tax Assessor-Collector did for over 25 years. The main function of the Tax Collector is to collect the taxes. Property tax, for most, is the largest single mandatory payment made each year.

The headlines recently have put the large increase of property values during this time of financial crisis, cause by COVID-19, in the spotlight.  The first thing I thought of when businesses started to close and millions of Texans were being laid off was, How are our citizens in Wharton County going to be able to pay their property tax bill? This is of a great concern. Knowing my property tax codes, I became pro-active for the benefit of our taxpayers. I knew there is the option to pay your property taxes (homestead property) through the quarterly payment option if your county is declared a disaster. That Bill only addresses property damaged by the disaster.

I am currently working to get an executive order from the Governor of Texas to amend that tax code to include the option to pay in the quarterly payment option for all taxpayer on all property affected by COVID-19.  During Harvey, the pervious Tax Assessor-Collector saw the need to use the Property in a Disaster Tax Code. He worked out that the homesteaded taxpayer had this option and there was no disruption to the taxing entities providing the serves in which the taxes are used. The elected Tax Assessor-Collector is also an agent for the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for title and motor vehicle registration and does licenses and collects other various fees for the state and county. As your elected Tax Assessor-Collector, and a life-long Conservative Republican, I will always be pro-active to look for the best way to serve you, the taxpayer.  

 If elected, what are your top three priorities in office?

My 1st priority for the benefit of the taxpayer, is to do a study on payment history of all taxpayers. I want to make sure that anyone who has the option to pay quarterly (over 65, disabled, disabled Veteran) knows they have this option. I want to know our taxpayers and be able to catch an issue before it arises, as there are solutions. I will review all properties delinquent on payments and work with the taxpayer, the delinquent law firm and the taxing entities for the best option for the taxpayer to avoid the steep cost of penalties, interest and the possible tax foreclosure of their home. Peoples’ lives are full of the unexpected. It is stressful to make sure you have enough money to cover your tax bill every year. I want the taxpayer to know that I will be there for them and work out solutions to better assist them.

My 2nd priority will be to create a personal working relationship with the all the taxing entities (governing bodies) to efficiently provide them with their worksheets and the calculations of the tax rates. Time is of the essence for these taxing entities to vote on adopting a tax rate. Providing accurate information and assisting with data that will help ensure a fair tax rate for the taxpayers. I will make sure that the Tax Assessor-Collector’s website will disclose and publish all worksheets provided to the taxing entities, the current tax rates and truth in taxation — as required for transparency to all taxpayers.  

My 3rd priority will be to continue to work with our legislators on solutions to ease the burden of our taxpayers in Wharton County and at the same time, fund the taxing entities. For numerous years I have worked with elected officials and have confidence I am the person who can best serve as Wharton County’s Tax Assessor-Collector.  

For additional information concerning the 2020 Joint Primary Runoff Election, readers may visit the Wharton County Elections Office website.

For voter registration questions or to verify voter eligibility, readers may visit https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do


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