I was pulling back the blankets Wednesday night, getting ready to crawl into bed when my husband asked a stunning question.

"Did Rick Perry win?" he asked.

I looked at him like he had two heads, and sighed, "Well, of course."

I was irritated that he didn't know, mostly because I knew then that he hadn't read the day's paper, which the editorial staff and I spent hours putting together Tuesday night.

I fumed for a few minutes, tossing and turning until my sheets were rumpled, and finally thought: Lucky man.

While I had spent the past 48 hours obsessing over election results, he didn't give a flip about any of it. Aside from casting the occasional ballot, he doesn't waste any of his energy worrying about politics - something he is becoming increasingly turned off by the older he gets.

Meanwhile, I had spent the day fretting over the outcome (though I had correctly predicted every race), and feeling mildly annoyed.

Election season has that effect on me, although it's not always been that way.

Just 13 years ago, I jumped into the local political scene with both feet. If there was a fundraiser or other political event to be a part of, I was there.

I got involved on the local level by attending monthly meetings, and in just about a millisecond, was recruited to help with Election Day polls and other events. I stuffed envelopes, made phone calls, addressed invitations and did anything that was asked of me. I loved it and believed that what I was doing would make a difference in my community.

I was even recruited to organize and run the local headquarters, which I did with fever-pitch gusto for several seasons. Juggling three kids on my hip, I worked long hours (all volunteer, no pay) at the headquarters, answering phones and sometimes waiting hours for someone to walk through the doors.

During those years, I met a lot of really great people I still consider friends. But getting so involved came with a price, and the behind-the-scenes ugliness became something I chose to no longer be a part of, so I packed up, walked out and never looked back.

Fast forward to the present, and my job does not allow me to turn a blind eye to what's going on in politics, which is why I keep a large bottle of Maalox at arm's length, comfortably nestled between my keyboard and lamp.

As election night returns came in Tuesday, I popped the round, colored tablets, sighed and watched as three long-time incumbents lost their seats.

I'm not troubled by their replacements. I'm sure the three who were elected to serve as county commissioners and justice of the peace are smart, kind people who will do an outstanding job for the county.

What troubles me is why I believe the incumbents lost their seats. I don't believe it had anything to do with their affability or job performance, rather, I believe it had to do with the fact that they didn't have an "R" behind their names.

I just don't understand that kind of party allegiance - one that is so strong that it keeps people from looking at a candidate and their qualifications in their entirety before casting a ballot.

I can't help but wonder what kind of representatives we are going to end up with if all we consider when we elect someone to office is party affiliation.

I assure you, that is doesn't make a diddly darn what the guy who takes care of my road thinks about the national party platform - and anyone who thinks so is fooling themselves.

In fact, I would guess that most local candidates in this neck of the woods - Republican and Democrat - share very similar views on social and economic issues.

As for me, I'll never be able to care about politics as little as my husband, but I can tell you this: All I want in a commissioner is one who will keep the potholes on my county road at bay so my little car's tires don't go flat. I couldn't care less if they are Republican or Democrat - and I'm surprised it matters to so many others.

Sara Vanden Berge is managing editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.