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2012 was a rather odd political year: Voters elect surveyor, abolish office same day

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Nov. 6 general election proved once again that Wise County is a Republican stronghold.

Of the 21,074 total votes cast in the election, 52 percent were straight party Republican. The total was probably helped by the fact that there were no county-level Democrats on the ballot.

Early voting for the general election set numerous records including most votes (10,982), most votes in a single day (1,564 on the last day of early voting) and most votes on the first day of early voting (985). The higher totals were no doubt helped by the presidential election, extended voting hours on certain days and the inclusion of three voting locations rather than one.

Overall, 58.64 percent of registered voters in the county cast a ballot, which just missed the record of 59.4 percent set in the 2004 election.

Perhaps the most intriguing local race involved a couple of items dealing with a county surveyor position. Voters approved the abolishment of the office by a vote of 8,163 to 6,800, but at the same time gave Davey Edwards, a Republican running unopposed for the position, 17,378 votes.

After the election, Edwards inquired about the timing of the abolishment of the office. Edwards said he was told by someone in the Secretary of State’s office that a position could not be abolished in mid-term, and the current term was 2010-2014. County Judge Bill McElhaney has since said the position will be abolished at midnight Dec. 31.

Most local races were decided in the Republican primary, which ended up being held in May rather than the usual date in March due to the ongoing redistricting battle. Dennis Hudson defeated Tom Bishop for Precinct 1 constable, Stephen Wren defeated Marilyn Belew for County Court at Law No. 2 judge, Danny White defeated Jim Popp for Precinct 1 commissioner, Harry Lamance defeated Glenn Hughes for Precinct 3 commissioner and Larry Short defeated Mike Andrews in a primary runoff in July for Precinct 2 constable.

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