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Gary VanDeaver's Missing Capital 'D' from election ballot: Election Headache or Campaign Strategy?

Feb 9, 2024

House District 1 State Rep. Gary VanDeaver faces heavy opposition from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and popular Attorney General Ken Paxton. And now it seems the representative's trademark capital "D" is not listed on the March 4 Republican Party ballot in Bowie County.

This development comes as some local citizens in coffee shops around Bowie County have begun calling VanDeaver the nickname "Gary VanDemocrat" because of his opposition to school vouchers and vote in favor of impeaching Attorney General Paxton.

What happened to the capital "D"?

It is unclear how the lowercase "d" replaced the capital "D," which is prominent in all of VanDeaver's advertising materials, and some are wondering if it came from the candidate himself or was just an error in the original filing paperwork. 

Texarkana News contacted Bowie County Elections Administrator Pat McCoy and asked about the missing capital "D" in VanDeaver's name.

"We publish those the way that the state gives us that information," McCoy said. "For instance, there was one candidate who wanted a period after his middle initial, and another candidate did not. So it's crazy. We do whatever they want."

McCoy said: "More than likely, the candidate put it that way." However, the elections administrator reiterated that the county was required to list the name exactly as received from the state.

Ballots in Paris are different

However, the sample ballot from Lamar County, which includes Paris, Texas, does show VanDeaver's name with the capital "D" and not the lowercase "d" for the March 4 Republican Primary.

Texarkana News spoke with Tricia Johnson, the elections administrator for Lamar County. She said she places the names on ballots exactly as the party chair gives them to her. 

But Johnson clearly did not wish to speculate why there is a difference in VanDeaver's name in Bowie and Lamar counties. "This is just my job, and I do it. I don't want to get involved in any of that," she said.

However, she said it was too late to do anything about a lowercase or capital "D," stating: "ballots have already gone out."

Large turnout expected

Elections Administrator McCoy said a large turnout is expected because of the presidential primary and other prominent races.

"We expect better turnout than in the prior November election, and we expect good turnout in Bowie County because of the state representative race."

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