The DeLeon Free Press reported Wednesday that Ben Barnes, former Texas lieutenant governor and speaker of the House, had rescinded his endorsement of the Ranger College tax annexation as announced in a Vote YES Ranger College press release on Friday.
Barnes was quoted as supporting the annexation alongside former Rep. Jim Keffer of Texas House District 60, which includes Brownwood. Barnes, a De Leon native, reportedly contacted the Free Press on Friday to qualify his support.
“I had no idea the effect this annexation would have on DeLeon,” he says in the article. “This has caused me to reconsider.”
Barnes said when he offered his support he believed the annexation “included only Brown County,” and not Erath and Comanche counties. Barnes is a DeLeon native and, the article says, owns property in Brown County as well.
Barnes said he initially agreed to support the annexation in Brown County because he is “for junior college education.”
Keffer has made no public qualification of his support since the press release appeared. In 2013 Keffer authored legislation, HB 3332, that specifically exempted Brown County from a rule that barred junior college annexation in counties with a TSTC campus, paving the way for this year’s vote.
Thursday is the final day of early voting, and the Elections Office will be open extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.