The Wise County Republican Executive Committee Monday named Craig Johnson of Decatur as the candidate to be placed on November’s ballot for Precinct 2 justice of the peace.
Johnson, a retired police officer, is husband of the late Precinct 2 JP Terri Johnson. She was running unopposed this year for a third term but died in a car accident April 26 on U.S. 81/287 south of Decatur.
The executive committee, which is made up of the party’s precinct chairmen, was charged with naming someone to replace her on the ballot.
“It was done with a very heavy heart,” said Party Chair Allen Williamson. “Everyone was very somber about the task we were called to do, but Craig has already proven to be a great JP.”
Mr. Johnson is currently serving the remainder of his wife’s second term. He was appointed interim Precinct 2 justice of the peace last month by county commissioners.
Williamson said the executive search committee, headed by Chico Mayor J.D. Clark, sent questionnaires to people on the Republican Party email list and the staff at the Precinct 2 JP office, inquiring about qualities, skills and experiences they felt were important in a justice of the peace.
“I think at the end of the day, while there were other good candidates, Craig was the best,” Williamson said.
The search committee accepted applications through May 21, and Clark said nine people applied, all of which had “strong merits.”
“Wise County would have been well-served by any of them,” he said, “but his law enforcement background and criminal justice experience and community involvement caused him to rise to the top.
“It wasn’t an easy task, but we feel good about Craig doing it,” he said.
Mr. Johnson retired in 2013 from Grapevine Police Department and was working as a private investigator at the time of his wife’s death. He had been with Grapevine PD since 1994 and prior to that was an investigator with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.
Johnson was out of town Friday and unavailable for comment.