And then there were 2; Bailey, Garrett go to runoff in JP 4 race

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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One Step Closer

ONE STEP CLOSER – Todd Bailey (left) and Charles Applewhite congratulate each other on advancing to the runoffs in their respective races. Bailey will face Willie Garrett in a runoff for Precinct 4 justice of the peace, and Applewhite is in a runoff for Precinct 3 constable with Terry Terry. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The first leg of the Precinct 4 justice of the peace race was tight with Todd Bailey and Willie Garrett heading to a runoff.

Bailey, of Paradise, secured 630 votes or 36.31 percent – the most in the three-man Republican primary. Willie Garrett of Bridgeport received 572 votes for 32.97 percent. Buck Manoushagian of Bridgeport narrowly missed the runoff with 533 votes at 30.72 percent. The Wise County Elections Administration reported 130 outstanding mail-in ballots at 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

Bailey said receiving the most votes made him feel good, but there’s still work to be done.

“It lets me know what we’re doing is working,” he said. “People want knowledge and experience. Name recognition is slowly fading away. I’m glad of the results, but we have 11 more weeks of hard work to do.

“All good things come to those who wait … and work for it,” he added.

Garrett said he was sick to his stomach as the results rolled in Tuesday night.

“It was tight,” he said. “I know my work is cut out for me, but we’ll hit the ground running.”

Early voting numbers had the three candidates within just a few votes of each other except Manoushagian led the way. He had 35 percent of the votes with 233, followed by Bailey at 230 and Garrett at 201. Election day voting turned the tide in this race as Bailey snagged 38 percent of Tuesday’s votes and Garrett received 34 percent. Manoushagian pulled only 27 percent. He declined to comment Tuesday night.

The runoff election is May 22.

Looking ahead, Garrett said his biggest issue is working the equivalent of two jobs – serving as chief of the Lake Bridgeport Fire Department and working shifts for Wise County Emergency Medical Services – which cuts into time he needs to campaign.

“The grass fires hit us hard because I was on the fire truck [and unable to attend some events],” he said. “But I’m going to plan on meeting a lot more people and getting out a lot more.

“We’re going to get it done.”

Garrett thanked those who voted for him.

“Thanks for coming out and lifting me up,” he said. “Thanks for the texts, Facebook messages and being there for me.”

Bailey, a retired federal air marshal, also thanked his voters and said he was humbled by their support.

“I appreciate their support and votes, but we still have work to do. I need them to vote again,” he said. “Their vote matters to me, and their voice matters. We just have to keep working it.”

There is no Democratic candidate running in November, so whoever gets the most votes in May wins the seat.

Early voting for the runoff starts May 14.

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