After 55 years in office, Huvar is unseated as county clerk

  • VOTER TURNOUT ADVOCATE STAFF REPORTVoter turnout was a nice surprise during the Tuesday night elections, Victoria County Election Administrator George Matthews said. Of the county's 51,448 registered voters, 12,120 people - or 23.56 percent - voted in the primaries. "It was way higher than I anticipated," said Matthews, who said he only expected an 18 percent show of voters. Early voting is typically a good indicator as to how primaries will play out, he said. About 50 percent of primary votes typically come in during early voting, Matthews explained, but this year many more people came out during Election Day. "It's getting back to the way things used to be," he said, "back when I first started."
    VOTER TURNOUT -2010-03-03 00:00:00

For the first time in almost six decades, Victoria County will have a new county clerk.

Robert Cortez unseated longtime incumbent Val D. Huvar on Tuesday night in the race for Victoria County clerk.

Cortez came away with 2,014 votes, or 51 percent, while Huvar garnered 1,960 votes, or 49 percent.

"I am very, very grateful to the community of Victoria voters who've trusted me with their vote," Cortez said at 9:30 p.m. "I am prepared to take on the challenge of county clerk."

Huvar, 90, had maintained his role as clerk for 55 years. The state's longest-serving county clerk, he was first sworn into office Jan. 1, 1955.

An ever-growing frog collection takes up a majority of Huvar's office inside the Victoria County Courthouse.

"I have nothing to say," he said in a phone interview from his home. "The Hispanics just came out and voted. That's all I can say."

Huvar added that he appreciated everyone who made it out to vote Tuesday.

"Evidently, they had reasons for not re-hiring me," he said.

Cortez does not have a Republican opponent in November.

In his new role, Cortez said he plans to upgrade the office's customer service and technology in a variety of ways. Among those changes, he plans to implement ways for people to pay for records online with credit cards.

He also hopes to start an aggressive educational campaign to teach people who the county clerk is and what he does. When Cortez was campaigning, he said, he realized many people were in the dark as to what the position entailed.

The county clerk is responsible for maintaining important historical records, such as birth certificates, land transfers and juvenile court activities, he said.

"Victoria County has spoken that they are ready for a change," Cortez, 61, said. "I will extend 100 percent effort to be a full-time county clerk ... to serve the public as it deserves to be served."