County canvasses election results

Wise County interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker reported to county commissioners that 35 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the Nov. 4 general election.

Commissioners canvassed the votes at a special meeting Wednesday morning.

Parker said absentee voter turnout was heavy, but overall there were a few hundred fewer votes cast in this election than in 2010.

The final tally of votes was 12,764.

County Judge J.D. Clark won his race with 10,377 votes, and the final number of votes for Precinct 4 Commissioner Gaylord Kennedy is 2,558.

The county was required this year to have extended early voting hours, but the last day of early voting accounted for 37 percent of the votes cast for the entire extended voting period.

“Seven to 8 a.m. was a bust – except for in Rhome,” he said. “And the extended hours on the weekend was the same as we would have had at Wal-Mart.”

During the extended hours of 7 to 8 a.m. on the second week of early voting, Parker said 19 voters countywide cast ballots. The 5 to 7 p.m. time period was more fruitful with an additional 312 voters trekking to the polls.

Parker reported that there were seven voters with an ID issue, and only one person returned to the office to present a valid ID.

The next election will be for city councils and school boards in May 2015.

Some information for this story was obtained from a pamphlet Parker distributed at the meeting.

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Republicans sweep: Kennedy wins Precinct 4 by 2,050 votes

Republicans sweep: Kennedy wins Precinct 4 by 2,050 votes

The Wise County Precinct 4 County Commissioner’s race was decided early Tuesday night.

Early voting totals put Republican Gaylord Kennedy ahead of Democrat Kristina Kemp 1,131 to 238 shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Kennedy went on to win with 2,555 votes – 83.5 percent – to Kemp’s 505 votes and 16.5 percent.

GOP Victory

GOP VICTORY – Gaylord Kennedy, newly elected Precinct 4 county commissioner, and J.D. Clark, newly elected Wise County judge, celebrate their victories Tuesday night at the Decatur Visitors Center. Kennedy and Clark were just two of the many Republicans to win big Tuesday night. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I was a little surprised,” Kennedy said of the winning margin. “I felt like I would win, but not by that much. I feel like I won because I was the most qualified candidate, and voters realized that. They’re smart. So, I thank the voters.”

Prior to seeking the office, Kennedy served 12 years on the Bridgeport school board and owned and operated a personal trucking business for 34 years. His campaign focused on road maintenance, low county tax rates and orderly growth for the county.

After the win, Kennedy said he was just excited to get started – and glad the campaign was over.

“I’ve been preparing for this for a year, so I’m ready to get to work, get things organized and start learning the ropes of the courthouse.”

Kemp, only the second woman to run for Precinct 4 commissioner, called the vote margin “a little ridiculous.”

Jubilant Victory

JUBILANT VICTORY – Gaylord Kennedy laughs and celebrates his 2,555-505 vote win over Kristina Kemp for Precinct 4 county commissioner Tuesday night at the Decatur Visitors Center. “I’m ready to get to work,” Kennedy said. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“Yeah, it’s a little insane, but I guess it just goes to show you that no matter how much hard work you put in, you won’t get elected if you don’t run on a Republican ticket,” Kemp said after Kennedy’s victory.

“I do believe that if this wasn’t a partisan position, I would have won,” she added. “But I’m still happy with my decision [to run].”

Kemp, who campaigned based on bringing living wage jobs to Wise County, recycling wastewater used for fracking and spending tax dollars more efficiently, said she would consider running again in four years if she felt that she could make a difference.

“It depends on where I’m at,” she said. “But I know whatever happens next is meant to be.”

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Clark wins big to take judge’s post

Republican J.D. Clark was elected Wise County judge Tuesday night – and it was a landslide.

Clark, the mayor of Chico, collected 83 percent of the vote to soundly defeat Democrat Jim Stegall, 10,364 to 2,121.

“I went into this planning to win, and even so, I don’t have the words to say how it feels,” Clark said after the votes were in. “To have 83 percent of the people in the county say they want me to work for them – it blows my mind.

“I’m going to work every day not only for that 83 percent, but also to show that 17 percent that I work for them, too.”

Clark held an election watch party at the Decatur Visitors Center, and Stegall came in just before 9:45 p.m. to congratulate his opponent.

“The people have spoken,” he said. “They have done their job by voting, and I’m especially proud of those that voted for me.

“In the beginning, I said I wanted to have some discussion of issues and that didn’t materialize the way I had hoped,” Stegall said. “I regret that.”

Clark jumped out to a big lead as soon as the early voting numbers rolled in just after 7. He had pulled in 4,807 votes to Stegall’s 1,011, an 87.62 percent majority that barely slipped even after the election-day votes were counted.

Throughout the evening, Clark was constantly caught in a handshake or hug as family, friends and county officials popped in to check the numbers and offer congratulations. A group of his former Bowie High School students even made the trek to Wise County to support their teacher – a man they now consider a friend.

“We figured it would mean a lot to him for us be here, as a friend,” Carter Shackelford said. Although he was happy for Clark, he and the other students said they do miss him in the halls of BHS, and it’s a different atmosphere without him.

The city of Chico will also have to adjust to life without Clark as its leader. The 28-year-old was serving his third term as mayor but will turn in his letter of resignation this week, effective when he takes the oath of office as county judge.

At the end of a long night, Clark hugged his mom, Lori, and shared a few words with her before standing to make his official victory speech.

He and Republican Gaylord Kennedy, who won his race for Precinct 4 county commissioner, shook hands, congratulating each other and pledging to work hard and work together.

“I just want to say thank you to so many people,” Clark said.

The newly elected judge said he didn’t have a brain trust or a fancy political team running his campaign.

“It didn’t take any committee of people, it just took people who agreed with what I was doing and believed in what I was doing,” he said. “I didn’t have to sit them down and say this is how we’ll do it … we just organically did what was right.

“I wanted issues to be part of the conversation, and I think it’s obvious, not only did it become part of the converstion, everybody said, ‘we’re with ya,'” he said. “I’m going to work for all of Wise County as I know Gaylord is, too, and like he said, ‘Let’s get to work!'”

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Statewide, nothing was too close to call

The parties started early Tuesday night, as Republicans across Texas celebrated a decisive defense of their conservative stronghold.

Democrats had chosen the theme “Battleground Texas” for this election, but as soon as results began to roll in it was obvious that the battle was over almost before it began.

While Wise County Republicans celebrated their sweep of the local offices up for grabs, Republicans statewide retained control even though there were no incumbents running for statewide office for the first time in over a century.

With 17 percent of the precincts reporting, just after 9 p.m., with Republicans leading in every race, the statewide totals looked like this:

  • With more than 2.5 million votes counted, Attorney General Greg Abbott led State Senator Wendy Davis by a 59-to-39 percent margin in the race for Governor.
  • State Senator Dan Patrick had 58.2 percent of the vote in the Lieutenant Governor’s race, to 39.1 percent for Senate colleague Leticia Van de Putte.
  • In the Attorney General’s race, Ken Paxton had received 58.7 percent of the vote to Sam Houston’s 38.6 percent.
  • Republican Glenn Hegar had a 58.3 percent edge over Mike Collier in the race for Comptroller.
  • Presidential grandson and nephew George P. Bush was leading John Cook 61 percent to 35 percent in the race for Land Commissioner.
  • Sid Miller was up 59 percent to 37 percent over Jim Hogan in the contest to be the next Commissioner of Agriculture.
  • Ryan Sitton led 58.7 percent over Steve Brown in the race for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission.
  • The State Board of Education seat in District 12 was returning to incumbent Pat Hardy by a 63-to-33 percent margin over Nancy Bean.
  • The District 30 State Senate race was going to Craig Estes with 86 percent of the vote over Libertarian opponent Cory Lane, who had drawn 13.8 percent.
  • Voters returned District 61 State Representative Phil King to office by an 83-to-17 percent margin over Matthew Britt, with 63 of 70 precincts reporting – a 35,059 to 7,194-vote margin.
  • District 12 Congresswoman Kay Granger easily returned to office, leading Democrat Mark Greene by a 66.6 percent margin.
  • And in District 13, Congressman Mac Thornberry was overwhelming Democratic opponent Mike Minter with 83 percent of the vote.

If the trends hold, this election will mark the 10th straight Republicans sweep of the statewide ballot, dating back to 1996.

Abbott, Texas’ longest-tenured Attorney General, will move into the Governor’s Mansion along with his wife, Cecilia, who will become Texas’ first Hispanic first lady. They have one daughter, Audrey, a senior in high school.

Patrick, a Houston radio talk show host before he was elected to the Texas Senate, has vowed to name fewer Democrats as committee chairs. Van de Putte will return to the Senate in January with two years left on her current term.

The lone constitutional amendment on the ballot, Proposition 1, to dedicate money from the surplus of the state’s Rainy Day Fund to the State Highway Fund, was passing with a huge majority.

At press time there were more than 2.1 million votes in favor of the proposition, 81 percent, while less than a half-million ballots had been cast against it, 18 percent.

Scott Haywood, president of Move Texas Forward, released a statement at 9 p.m.

“Tonight Texans from across the political spectrum came together to fight traffic, save lives, and create jobs,” he said. “Texans have sent a strong message that they want reliable funding for our state’s highways.

“TxDOT now stands to receive an additional $1.7 billion for road and bridge projects in the next year without new taxes, tolls, or debt.”

He noted, however, that the passage of Prop. 1 was just the first step in addressing the transportation funding shortfall in Texas.

“We look forward to continue working with our coalition partners as we fight for the additional funding for transportation that will move Texas forward,” Haywood said.

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Halloween scares up voters

Early voting in Wise County took a sharp upswing in the second week.

The polls didn’t close until 7 p.m. Friday night, but as of 5:15 p.m., 775 voters had cast their ballots on Halloween. It was the largest single-day total by far.

The second highest turnout was just a day earlier, with 495 on Oct. 30.

“It’s been a zoo day,” Elections Administrator Jim Parker said Friday evening.

As of 5:15, 181 ballots had been cast in Bridgeport, 183 in Rhome and 411 in Decatur, and there was still one hour and 45 minutes left until the polls closed.

That brought the total through 5:15 p.m. Friday to 4,839 – a 13.25 voting percentage that doesn’t include the nearly 1,000 mail-in ballots.

“We’re way ahead of 2010,” Parker said, comparing this year’s early voting numbers to the last non-Presidential election year.

Parker said total early voters in 2010 was 4,411, which included only 268 mail-in ballots.

Here are a few highlights from this year:

  • There have been seven days with more than 400 voters.
  • The single highest voter turnout was Oct. 31 with more than 775 votes through 5:15 p.m.
  • The single lowest voter turnout day (excluding weekend voting) was Thursday, Oct. 23, with 313 votes.
  • Weekend voting included 198 ballots cast on Saturday and 81 on Sunday.

Parker offered some advice for Tuesday, when showers are predicted.

“If the weather is bad, vote early,” he said. “Don’t lollygag around because something could happen. Get in there and vote early.”

Early voting ran Oct. 20-31. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Election Day is Tuesday

After months of campaigning, Election Day is finally here.

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, and by the end of the night, Wise County will have a new county judge and Precinct 4 commissioner.

Voters across the state will elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and railroad commissioner. The ballot also includes seats in the Texas and U.S. House and Senate, a host of judgeships, even Paradise school board posts.

Also on the ballot are district and county judge and clerk positions, a county court-at-law judge, county treasurer and two commissioners’ posts, along with four justice of the peace jobs. For a sample ballot, go to

Local polling locations include:

  • Precinct 1-1: Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut, Decatur
  • Precinct 1-2: Ag Extension building, 206 S. State, Decatur
  • Precinct 1-22: Ag Extension building, 206 S. State, Decatur
  • Precinct 1-3: First Baptist Church, Corner of Farm Road 455 and Main, Slidell
  • Precinct 1-4: Masonic Lodge, first floor, 147 CR 2640, Greenwood
  • Precinct 1-5: East Wise Fire Hall, 107 CR 4421, Blewett
  • Precinct 1-6: Community Center, East Farm Road 407, New Fairview
  • Precinct 2-7: Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur
  • Precinct 2-8: Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur
  • Precinct 2-9: Alvord City Hall, 215 W. Elm, Alvord
  • Precinct 2-10: Victory Baptist Church, 4346 N. Texas 101, Sunset (Park Springs)
  • Precinct 2-11: Crafton Baptist Church, fellowship hall, 2590 Farm Road 2127, Crafton
  • Precinct 2-12: Chico Public Library, 106 W. Jacksboro, Chico
  • Precinct 4-13: Bridgeport High School, One Maroon Drive, Bridgeport
  • Precinct 4-14: Bridgeport Lions Hall, 1107 8th St., Bridgeport
  • Precinct 4-15: Norma Coble Civic Center, 51 Runaway Bay Dr., Runaway Bay
  • Precinct 4-16: Boonsville Community Center, West on Farm Road 920 off County Road 3743, Boonsville
  • Precinct 4-17: First United Methodist Church, activity center, 301 S. Oak, Paradise
  • Precinct 2-18: Bridgeport Recreation Center, 1102 Lawdwin, Bridgeport
  • Precinct 2-19: Lake Bridgeport Fire Hall, 301 S. Main St., Lake Bridgeport
  • Precinct 3-20: Cottondale Community Center, 161 CR 3571 off Farm Road 2123, Cottondale
  • Precinct 3-23: Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd
  • Precinct 3-24: Newark Fire Hall, 406 Hudson St., Newark
  • Precinct 3-25: Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd
  • Precinct 3-27: Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd


The most recent Appeals Court decision restored the state’s Voter ID law, meaning those wishing to cast a ballot will need to bring a photo ID with them to the polling place, along with their voter registration card.

Acceptable forms of ID:

  • Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

Voters who don’t have an ID when they show up at the polling place will be issued a provisional ballot, which can become official if they return with an ID within a given number of days.

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Early voting available this weekend

If your work week schedule doesn’t allow you to vote early Monday-through-Friday for the Nov. 4 general election, you’re in luck this year.

Early voting will take place 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and, for the first time, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Decatur City Hall. Early voters should take note that this location will be used in place of Wal-Mart, which has been used for several years as a Saturday early voting location.

If a busy weekend keeps you away from the polls, don’t fret. Early voting continues with extended hours 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at three locations around the county:

  • Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut St.;
  • Rhome City Hall, 105 1st St.; and
  • Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.

Anyone registered to vote in Wise County can cast a ballot at any of these locations. Voters should bring a photo ID, along with their voter registration card.

Through the first five days of early voting at the three locations mentioned above, 1,913 votes had been cast. That included 1,043 in Decatur, 467 in Bridgeport and 403 in Rhome.

Interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker said as of Friday, his office had received 758 mail-in ballots.

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Early voting off to mediocre start

Early voting for the Nov. 4 general election started Monday and drew more than 400 people to the Wise County polls.

PROUD TO VOTE – A poll worker hands out stickers to every person that casts a ballot. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker said 443 people cast ballots, which does not include limited or provisional ballots.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 234 – Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut
  • 112 – Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.
  • 97 – Rhome City Hall, 105 1st St.

Parker said 46 people voted Monday in the Paradise school board election.

“In 2012, the last real big race with a presidential race, we had 1,000 [voters] on the first day,” he said. “So we’re running about half.”

He said traffic was slow Tuesday with 351 voters. Seventy-six cast ballots in Rhome, 86 in Bridgeport and 189 in Decatur.

Twelve people voted in the Paradise school board election Tuesday.

Early voting at all three locations continues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 24 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 27-31.

This weekend, Decatur City Hall will be open for early voting 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at precinct polling locations throughout the county.

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Early voting opens Monday

Come Jan. 1, 2015, Texas will have a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and railroad commissioner.

It all starts Monday, when early voting opens statewide.

There’s much more on this year’s ballot: seats in the Texas and U.S. House and Senate, a host of judgeships, even Paradise school board posts.

Wise County will elect a slate of local officeholders too. District and county judge and clerk positions, a county court-at-law judge, county treasurer and two commissioners’ posts are on the ballot along with four justice of the peace jobs.

And voters statewide will give their yea or nay to a constitutional amendment providing additional money from the state’s surplus to the state highway fund.

Early voting is available at the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, Decatur City Hall and Rhome City Hall beginning at 8 Monday morning. Anyone registered to vote in Wise County can cast a ballot at any of those locations.

Hours for early voting, which runs through Oct. 31, are:

  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, through Friday, Oct. 24
  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Decatur City Hall
  • noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at Decatur City Hall
  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, through Friday, Oct. 31

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at precinct polling locations throughout the county.

The most recent Appeals Court decision restored the state’s Voter ID law, meaning those wishing to cast a ballot will need to bring a photo ID with them to the polling place, along with their voter registration card.

There are seven forms of acceptable ID:

  • Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

Voters who don’t have an ID when they show up at the polling place will be issued a provisional ballot, which can become official if they return with an ID within a given number of days.

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Meet PISD’s school board candidates

Three spots on the Paradise ISD school board will go before the voters Nov. 4. The at-large seats are 3, 4, and 5.

Rusty Ford is unopposed for place 5, but places 3 and 4 are up for grabs.

Incumbent Kevin Howerton is challenged by Vann Wakefield for place 3, and Jim Taylor faces off against place 4 incumbent Carrie Preather.

Short biographies of the candidates, and their responses to questions concerning the challenges facing Paradise ISD’s school board, follow.


Kevin Howerton (incumbent)

Age: 51

Howerton has lived in Wise County for 51 years, the last 10 in Paradise, where he currently resides.

Howerton has been married for 25 years to his wife Celina. They have three daughters: Ally, 21, Rylee, 18 and Kaycie, 16.

His wife taught at PISD for 15 years, and he has many friends who teach in the district. He said he wants to serve to help keep the school going forward now that it’s back on track.

“The uphill climb now is state funding,” Howerton said. “A large number of schools like PISD have lost a considerable amount of funds from the state. It will take a strong effort from all the districts to get their voices heard. The board’s role should be to evaluate and support the Superintendent’s plans as they discover and move forward.”

Despite multiple attempts to contact challenger Vann Wakefield, there was no response as of press time.


Carrie Cleveland Preather (incumbent)

Age: 40

Preather has lived in the area for 40 years and resides in Paradise.

She is married to Larry Preather and has two children, Cash and Jett Preather, both active at PISD in academics and extracurricular activities. She said her children are looking forward to completing their senior year next spring.

Preather said It has been a pleasure to watch her children thrive at PISD over the last 12 years. She believes their time at Paradise has prepared them to be active, responsible and educated leaders in the future.

She graduated from PHS (1993) as did her parents and other family members over the years. Her mother taught in PISD for 25 years.

She said her love for Paradise is deep-rooted, and serving on the school board is her way of giving back. She said she is prepared for the issues the district is facing.

“I feel the major issue facing PISD today is the state funding cuts,” Preather said. “As a board, we work closely with our Superintendent Robert Criswell to ensure the money we receive is used wisely for the good of the children at PISD.”


Age: 60

Taylor, a Wise County resident since 1989. lives in Cottondale.

He has five grandchildren and two nieces in PISD, from pre-K to high school. In the past 20 years he has had three children and seven nieces and nephews graduate from Paradise High School. Taylor’s wife of 42 years, Patti, works for WG Financial in Bridgeport and Mann Refrigeration.

He said he wants to serve because because of his vested interest in Paradise ISD. He has previously served on the school board, so he already possesses the ability and experience to be effective.

“The major issue facing Paradise ISD is stability. In the past 18 months every administrative position from superintendent to elementary school principal and athletic director has changed personnel,” Taylor said. “The superintendent position is yet to be filled. It will be the task of the new board to provide the stability of purpose, goal, strategic and long-range planning.

“The first step is selection of a superintendent to operate under the leadership of the board. Change must be controlled and channeled to meet the 5-, 10-, 20-year goals and strategies as determined by the board. The fact of complete change in administrative staff from superintendent to elementary principal in a short period of time says the board has had to move from strategic planning to operational planning and firefighting.

“The board is the voice of the voters in determining the short and long term goals and strategies for the district.”


Early voting for the Paradise school board election will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20-24, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 27-31 at three locations:

  • Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut St., Decatur
  • Rhome City Hall, 105 1st., Rhome
  • Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St., Bridgeport

Early voting will also be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 25, and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 26, at Decatur City Hall only.

On election day, the polls will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following Paradise-area locations:

  • Precinct 22 – AgriLife Extension Building, 206 S. State, Decatur
  • Precinct 8 – Assumption Catholic Church 1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur
  • Precinct 14 – Bridgeport Lions Hall, 1107 6th St., Bridgeport
  • Precinct 16 – Boonsville Community Center, West on Hwy 920, Boonsville
  • Precinct 17 – First United Methodist Church, Activity Center, 301 S. Oak, Paradise
  • Precinct 20 – Cottondale Community Center, 161 CR 3571, Cottondale
  • Precinct 23 – Boyd Community Center, 420 E Morton Ave., Boyd.

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Judge upholds appointment

Judge upholds appointment

Wise County Democratic Party Chair Tracy Smith dropped her head in her hands as the judge announced his ruling shortly after noon Friday at the Wise County Courthouse.

Intense Discussion

INTENSE DISCUSSION – Winford Cash and Democratic Party Chair Tracy Smith consult during Friday’s hearing at the Wise County Courthouse. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Judge R.H. Wallace Jr. of Fort Worth’s 96th District Court denied the injunction Smith had requested against interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker and the Wise County Elections Commission.

“I think the spirit of the law was not adhered to,” she said afterward. “I don’t feel like the intent of the law was followed, either. It’s unfortunate.”

Several witnesses testified during the two-hour hearing before a crowd of about 20.

Smith’s attorney, Steve Maxwell, who is chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, said most of the facts in this case were not in dispute.

The Elections Commission appointed Parker interim EA Sept. 23 to replace Lannie Noble, who had resigned to accept the same position in Denton County. At the time of Parker’s appointment, he was a vice chair of the Wise County Republican Party. He turned in his letter of resignation to Party Chair Allen Williamson immediately following the appointment.

Presenting His Case

PRESENTING HIS CASE – Wise County Attorney James Stainton makes his opening statement during a hearing Friday in which Democratic Party Chair Tracy Smith sought an injunction against the appointment of Jim Parker as interim elections administrator. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

At the same meeting, they accepted Noble’s resignation letter, which stated he intended to work through Sept. 26. Later in the week of Sept. 23, a resolution naming Parker interim elections administrator was submitted to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, and it said Parker would assume duties of the office Sept. 23.

Smith had refused to sign the document because she said it was an illegal appointment. She filed the lawsuit Sept. 30, and on Oct. 8, the commission reconvened to clarify its appointment and amend the resolution to reflect a start date for Parker of Sept. 29.

“The disputed issue of fact is whether Mr. Noble was to remain on the job until Sept. 26 or not,” he said. “Our position is not only was that not discussed in the meeting, but an order of an elections administrator appointment was entered on that very day, Sept. 23.”

He also said the proper procedure was not for the commission to amend the document but instead re-do the appointment in accordance with the law.

Maxwell cited 31.035 in the Election Code, which says in part, “A county elections administrator may not be a candidate for a public office or an office of a political party, hold a public office, or hold an office of or position in a political party. At the time an administrator becomes a candidate or accepts an office or position in violation of this subsection, the administrator vacates the position of the administrator.”

Since Parker’s appointment, resignation, and start date all appeared to be the same date – the 23rd – they said it was in violation of the statue.

County Attorney James Stainton disagreed with that interpretation in his opening statement.

“Mr. Maxwell interprets the statute in one direction that if at any time you hold two positions, you’re automatically out,” he said. “I don’t think that’s what the statute says. It says if you’re an administrator and you take an affirmative act to put yourself in a position in a political party, then you are out.”

Stainton also said he didn’t think the Oct. 8 meeting was improper because the change was made to reflect the original intent of the commission.

“Our contention continues to be that the meeting on the 8th was to clarify the will and desire of the commission, and even so … in the first place, we don’t think anything was improper at (the time of the appointment),” he said.

Smith, a staff accountant at a firm in Denton, was the first to take the stand. She’s been chair of the Democratic Party since August of 2013.

She said that although the date of Noble’s last day with the county was in his resignation letter, it was not specifically discussed in the Sept. 23 meeting.

Stainton asked her if discussion was necessary because she and the other commission members had the letter in their hands.

“I wouldn’t call it, ‘There was no need for a discussion,'” she said.

“You had the letter in your hand saying the 26th … everyone else had the letter,” he said. “You didn’t feel the need to challenge the date being the 26th or otherwise bring it up in any form or fashion did you?” he asked.

Smith said she didn’t know it would be necessary before finally answering the question.

Stainton also asked Smith what her impression was on the 23rd of when Parker was to take office, and she said there was “no impression.”

“Despite the fact that you had the letter stating (Noble’s) last day in office was the 26th?” Stainton asked.

Smith insisted the letter was the “intent” of Mr. Nobles, not necessarily the intent of the commission.

She went on to testify that Parker began work before Noble’s last day on Sept. 26. She said her husband received a letter from Parker postmarked Sept. 24 about election judge training in October.

Also on the 24th, she said Parker called her, in the capacity of elections administrator, to notify her that Democratic campaign signs in Bridgeport needed to be moved because they were illegally placed.

When questioned, she admitted the letter she received was not signed by Parker.

“Was it possible that he had no knowledge of that being sent out?” Stainton asked.

Smith didn’t answer the question and instead said Parker was working at the office.

“Were you in the office? Did you see him in the office?” asked Stainton.

“No, I did not,” she said.

“Did he call you from the office phone number?” Stainton asked in reference to the campaign sign conversation.

She said she assumed he did.

“You don’t really know, do you?” he said.

Smith insisted she did.

Deputy Elections Administrator Karen Valenzuela testified, revealing more details about the letter sent from the EA office with Parker’s name on it.

She said she wrote the letter and put the names on it, which included Parker’s, hers and that of Deputy Voter Registrar Luis Valdez. She said this was the same form letter that her department sends every year. “I was letting the election judges know who the new elections administrator would be,” she said.

She said she was instructed to send the letter by Noble, and Parker did not know about the letter prior to it being sent.

Parker also testified, stating his first knowledge of the letter was when his wife, who is an election official, received it.

He also said his phone conversation about signs with Smith was more of a courtesy call and that he, Smith and other party representatives regularly talk about signs and placement and wording of signs and try to give each other a heads-up if they hear of something being wrong.

“Our conversation about the signs lasted maybe two or three minutes,” he said. He said the rest of the conversation was about an upcoming Halloween party and he and his wife’s decision to buy an RV.

He testified that he did not call her in the capacity of elections administrator.

Others testifying in the case included Lee Foster of Alvord, a Democratic precinct chair; County Clerk Sherry Lemon; and Wise County Republican Party Chair Allen Williamson.

After the ruling was announced, Williamson told the Messenger he felt confident going into today’s proceedings.

“On behalf of myself personally, I want to thank Stainton for the work he did,” he said. “He prepared for this case very well and … we believed that we would prevail, and we appreciate the system and the court’s time.”

Smith said she didn’t know what the Democratic Party’s next step would be as she had not yet discussed that with her attorney.

She said she does have concerns about how the November election will be run.

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Elections administrator’s start date debated

The turmoil over the appointment of Jim Parker as interim elections administrator continued to brew at a Wise County Elections Commission meeting Wednesday.

The group met to clarify what the majority of the members deemed a clerical error in the paperwork naming Parker as interim EA. The resolution submitted to the Secretary of State’s office says Parker will assume the interim EA duties on Sept. 23, which is the same day he was appointed to the post. He also resigned from his vice chair position with the Wise County Republican Party that day.

The majority of the members agree the resolution should have read that Parker would assume the duties on Sept. 29, the Monday following Lannie Nobles’ last day on the job.

But Democratic Party Chair Tracy Smith, also an elections commission member, hinted that the discrepancy in dates was underhanded action taken by the Republicans, and she said that Parker began acting as interim EA before his official start date.

Smith had already cried foul over the appointment, which she originally voted against, by filing a lawsuit Sept. 30 in the 271st District Court against the interim elections administrator and the county’s elections commission.

That case will be heard at the Wise County Courthouse 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10, by Judge David Evans of the 48th District Court of Fort Worth.

In the meantime, the commission was tasked with cleaning up its paperwork.

County Judge Glenn Hughes opened Wednesday’s meeting by reminding everyone that Nobles’ resignation letter said Nobles would work through Sept. 26.

He explained that during the commission meeting Sept. 23 when Parker was appointed to replace Nobles, his understanding was that Parker would take over the job on Sept. 29, the Monday following Nobles’ last day.

The judge wanted each member of the commission to say how he or she on Sept. 23 interpreted the timeline of Nobles’ resignation and Parker’s takeover.

“I assumed that Lannie would work through that Friday, and I don’t know how you felt or if you felt the same way I did,” he said. “But I’m going to call on each one of you, and this will clear my mind on this one issue.”

Smith never said how she first interpreted it but instead shifted the focus to the error made on Parker’s resolution for appointment.

“I didn’t notice it, but I never had the intention for Mr. Parker to go down there and tell Lannie he’s out of office,” said Judge Hughes. “All I’m asking is what we thought at the time (of appointment).

“This was an error that we put the 23rd on there, and we probably shouldn’t have done that.”

Smith expressed disbelief that no one caught the mistake. The resolution was signed by commission members Hughes, Republican Party Chair Allen Williamson, County Clerk Sherry Lemon and Tax Assessor-Collector Monte Shaw. Smith said later in the meeting that she refused to sign the document because it was an “illegal appointment.”

“It was signed by all four of you,” she said. ” It didn’t get caught by four different people.”

Hughes said he should have looked at the date, and he didn’t.

“I wished the date was different, but I’m talking about when we were sitting here in the meeting what was your intention?” he asked.

Smith again skirted the question and attempted to drive the conversation in a different direction before Hughes said his recommendation would be to amend the resolution.

The judge suggested amending the resolution to read that Parker assumed the office on Sept. 29, “which would be the date he started, and I think that was the date he was bonded.”

“So it was a clerical mistake to have the 23rd,” he said. “It should have read the 29th.”

Smith spoke up again at this point and said that Parker was acting in the capacity of elections administrator on Sept. 24.

“He called in the capacity of elections administrator to notify me that our candidates’ campaign signs were out of code, and we needed to have them removed,” she said. “That wasn’t the 29th. That was the 24th.”

This was news to the other commission members.

Smith also presented a letter from Parker, postmarked Sept. 24 about election judge training. After reviewing the letter, Hughes said he agreed that Parker was acting in the capacity of elections administrator by doing these things, but he didn’t see a problem with it because the commission had appointed him to perform those duties and he had already resigned his position with the Republican Party.

Smith asked questions of the judge confirming that Parker resigned from the party after he was appointed.

“Yes, that’s right,” Hughes said. “I don’t know how he would have turned it in before.”

“Well, that’s the spirit of the election code isn’t it?” she asked.

Hughes told Smith she was wrong and he thought she was misinterpreting it. He quoted Election Code 31.035, which reads in part: “A county elections administrator may not be a candidate for a public office or an office of a political party, hold a public office or hold an office of or position in a political party.”

Hughes’ point was that this statute is for people already in the position of elections administrator. He sought additional explanation from Republican Party Chair Allen Williamson.

Williamson referred everyone to section 31.034 of the Election Code, which outlines the eligibility to be named elections administrator.

“It says to be eligible for appointment as elections administrator, a person must be a qualified voter of the state,” he said. “That’s all it says about eligibility. There have been no allegations that says Mr. Parker isn’t a qualified voter of the state, so he is eligible to be elections administrator.”

Williamson said his understanding of the events on Sept. 23 was that the commission accepted Nobles’ resignation effective Sept. 26.

“I think if we make a motion to amend the appointment to the 29th, then I think that solves the problem,” he said. “As far as him acting in the capacity of elections administrator, I haven’t seen that, but it looks like he’s trying to get elections school training going for the election judges of both parties, which would be consistent with us trying to maintain the upcoming election.”

Williamson wanted to make a motion at that time, but Hughes stopped him to seek the opinion of Lemon and Shaw, both of which agreed with the judge and the Republican Party chair.

Lemon and Shaw both said they had no previous knowledge of Parker acting in the capacity of EA before the 29th.

Williamson said he wasn’t going to fault Parker for trying to get the election going.

“I believe all the members of this commission would agree that we had a sense of urgency on the 23rd and that the overriding concern is that this election go off without a hitch,” he said.

He then made a motion to amend the appointment of county elections administrator for the effective date of Sept. 29.

Shaw seconded it.

Smith made a plea to the Democrats in attendance.

“Discussion… anybody?” she asked.

Lena Wells expressed frustration with the date being wrong, and Matthew Britt, Democratic candidate for state representative, District 61, argued Election Code interpretation before a vote was taken on Williamson’s motion.

It passed 3-1 with Shaw, Lemon and Williamson voting in favor, and Smith voting against the measure. Judge Hughes did not cast a vote.

Smith also refused to sign the revised resolution.

A story about Friday’s court hearing on this issue will run in the weekend Messenger.

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Candidates report campaign finances

Local candidates turned in their 30-day campaign finance report forms this week as required by the Texas Ethics Commission.

The reports submitted Monday detail contributions and expenditures from July 1 to Sept. 25. Republican county judge candidate J.D. Clark reported $6,650 in donations, more than any other candidate. This is also the most Clark has reported during any single reporting period, pushing his total contributions to more than $20,000.

The big spender during this reporting period was Democratic county judge candidate Jim Stegall, with $3,923.59. He reported $4,634 in contributions.

Below is a list of local candidates in opposed races and the information as it appears on their campaign finance report forms.


  • Republican J.D. Clark: $6,650 contributions, $539.13 expenditures

Contributions included $2,500 from the Wise Republican Women; $2,000 from the Republican Party of Texas in Austin; $1,000 from Louis Dorfman of Dallas; $500 from Wise County Republican Party Chair Allen Williamson; $250 from Jerrod Mowery of Bridgeport; $200 from Mark Duncum of Decatur; and $100 each from Dwight Albert “D.A.” Sharpe of Aurora and Russell and Lynda Childs of Chico.

  • Democrat Jim Stegall: $4,634 contributions, $3,923.59 expenditures

Contributions included $2,000 from Tom and Lori Chivers of Carrollton; $1,000 each from Mary Rebecca Stegall of Mount Lake Terrace, Wash., and Nora and Andrew Ponder of Houston; $500 from Laura and Trevor Armstrong of Fort Worth; and $100 from Larry and Mary Guillory of Rhome.

He reported $34 in contributions of $50 or less.


  • Democrat Kristina Kemp: $400 contributions, $3,117.60 expenditures

Kemp received one donation – $400 from the Wise County Democratic Party.

  • Republican Gaylord Kennedy: $0 contributions, $872.38 expenditures


Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Early voting starts Monday, Oct. 20.

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To vote, register by Monday and have photo ID

If you plan on voting in the Nov. 4 general election, you need to make sure you are registered to vote.

If you are not, Monday is your last chance.

The last day to register to vote or update the information on your current “orange” voter registration certificate is Monday, Oct. 6. Check to be sure the address on your voter certificate is your current address and the name on the certificate matches, or is substantially similar, to the name on the ID you will be presenting to vote.

Current law requires that you be registered in the county you call home and have a photo identification to vote. Call the Voter Registration office at 940-626-4453 or 940-627-3656.

If you need photo identification, Election Identification Certificates (EIC) may be obtained from any Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) driver’s license office throughout the state during normal business hours, all year. Wise County’s office is located at 2000 S. Trinity in Decatur. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DPS will offer Saturday hours at select driver’s license offices to issue EICs only Oct. 11 through Nov. 8. Those locations will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The closest office to Wise County that will offer Saturday hours is at 820 N. Loop 288 in Denton and 5816 Azle Ave. in Lake Worth.

To apply for an EIC, applicants must visit one of the locations listed above and complete an application for a Texas Election Identification Certificate (DL-14C).

To qualify for an EIC, an applicant must:

  • Bring documentation to verify U.S. citizenship and identity
  • Be eligible to vote in Texas (Bring a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application through the Texas Department of Public Safety.)
  • Be a Texas resident
  • Be 17 years and 10 months or older

If voters already have any of the following documents, they have an acceptable form of photo identification and are not eligible to receive an EIC:

  • Texas driver’s license – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas personal identification card – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. passport book or card – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas concealed handgun license – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Military identification with photo – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo

The EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for voting until the permanent card is delivered by mail.

The EIC is free to qualifying applicants and is valid for six years. There is no expiration date for an EIC for citizens 70 years of age or older. The EIC can be used for the purpose of voting in an election and may not be used as personal identification.

For more information on the requirements, exemptions and process for obtaining an EIC, visit For information on voting in Texas, visit the Secretary of State’s website:

Early voting for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 20-31.

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Few voters choose winners in runoff races

The winner of Tuesday’s primary runoff elections was … apathy, apparently.

That goes for both Wise County and the state as a whole.

Of the 35,775 eligible voters in Wise County, 2,154 cast ballots in either the Republican primary runoff (1,939) or the Democratic runoff (215). That amounts to a 6 percent voter turnout rate.

Statewide, voter turnout was around 7 percent.

There were no local races on the runoff ballot.

Wise County results of the individual races mirrored those across the state. In perhaps the highest-profile Republican race, for lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick defeated incumbent David Dewhurst by a 65 to 35 percent margin in statewide results. Patrick’s win was even more lopsided in Wise County, where 76 percent of voters chose Patrick compared to 24 percent for Dewhurst. Patrick won every voting precinct in Wise County.

In the Republican race for attorney general, Ken Paxton cruised to victory with a 64 to 36 percent margin of victory statewide over Dan Branch. In Wise County, Paxton won by a 69 to 31 percent margin. Like Patrick, Paxton won every local voting precinct.

In the closest race on the Republican ballot, Sid Miller defeated Tommy Merritt by a 53 to 47 percent margin. That was almost exactly the same margin Wise County voters delivered for Miller – 54 to 46 percent. Miller won 17 of 25 precincts in Wise County.

In the final Republican runoff race, Ryan Sitton defeated Wayne Christian for railroad commissioner by a 57 to 43 percent margin of victory. In Wise County, 58 percent voted for Sitton compared to 42 for Christian.

Sitton won 22 Wise County precincts, and the candidates received the same number of votes in one precinct.

Two Democratic races were on local ballots. For U.S. senator, Democrats statewide chose David Alameel over Kesha Rogers 72 to 28 percent. Locally, Alameel earned 61 percent of the vote compared to 39 percent for Kesha Rogers.

Alameel was the choice in 14 local precincts. Rogers led in 4 while the candidates tied in the other 7 precincts.

Jim Hogan was the Democrats’ choice for commissioner of agriculture as he defeated Richard “Kinky” Friedman by a 54 to 46 percent margin. Local Democrats also chose Hogan over Friedman by a 57 to 43 percent margin.

Hogan won 14 Wise County precincts compared to 6 for Friedman with split votes in the other 5 precincts.

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Voting Tuesday in primary runoff

After Tuesday, the November general election ballot should be set.

But before that can happen, a few races in the Democratic and Republican primary elections still need to be decided.

The Republican ballot includes the lieutenant governor, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture and railroad commissioner races.

Democratic voters still must settle on candidates for U.S. Senator and commissioner of agriculture.

Election day voting for the runoff is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at four consolidated polling locations around the county. Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 22 will vote at Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut. Precincts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18 and 19 will vote at Assumption Catholic Center, 1305 S. Deer Park in Decatur. Precincts 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 will vote at Bridgeport High School, One Maroon Dr. in Bridgeport. Precincts 20, 23, 24, 25 and 27 will vote at Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave. in Boyd.

Registered voters who did not vote in the primary election may vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary runoff. However, if you voted in a primary, you can only vote in the same party’s primary runoff election.

Sample ballots for both the Democratic and Republican primary runoff election can be found on the Wise County Election’s website,

A week of early voting ended Friday in Wise County with 630 votes cast in the Republican primary runoff and 24 in the Democratic primary runoff.

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Primary runoff early voting begins Monday

There is no more primary election business to take care of on the local level, but a few decisions are left to be made on the state and national levels.

Early voting for the May 27 Republican and Democratic primary runoff elections is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday next week, May 19-23. Early voting locations are:

  • Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut St.;
  • Rhome City Hall, 105 1st St.; and
  • the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.

The Republican ballot includes four races:

  • lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick;
  • attorney general, Ken Paxton and Dan Branch;
  • commissioner of agriculture, Sid Miller and Tommy Merritt;
  • and railroad commissioner, Ryan Sitton and Wayne Christian.

The Democrats have just two runoffs:

  • U.S. Senator, Kesha Rogers and David M. Alameel; and
  • commissioner of agriculture, Richard “Kinky” Friedman and Jim Hogan.

Registered voters who did not vote in the primary election may vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary runoff. However, if you voted in a party primary, you can only vote in the same party’s runoff election.

Information on election day voting locations and times will be published in next week’s Wise County Messenger.

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Early voters settle races

Wise County voters made their choices known in local city council and school board elections last week – and with the exception of one entity, all had more votes cast early than on election day May 10.

When the final numbers were tallied, a cast of new players was revealed.

Election Day By the Numbers


More than 400 people voted early in the Alvord school board race while just more than 100 trekked to the polls on election day.

They elected newcomers Lance Thweatt to place 6 and Charles Matthews to place 7, by overwhelming margins. Thweatt received 396 votes to Tracy Parker’s 152. Lex Williams received three votes for the place 6 post, but he informally withdrew from the race a few weeks ago, asking his supporters to vote for Thweatt.

Matthews defeated Jeannette Ward 400 to 151.

Debra McKelvain won place 4 on Alvord City Council with 86 votes. Her opponents, Lenda Barnes and Shane Raney, received 63 and 44 votes, respectively. Incumbents Kirk Gibson (place 3) and Jim Enochs (place 5) were unopposed. Gibson got 137 votes, and Enochs, 149.


In the Bridgeport mayor’s race, Corey Lane narrowly edged Kathy Kennedy, 193-177. Lane won early voting 110-98, while Kennedy garnered one more vote than Lane on election day.

David Correll won place 1 on the city council with 243 votes, beating incumbent A.Z. Smith, who received 111 votes. The race for place 2 was close, but Calvin Coursey declared victory with 186 votes. Art Velasquez received 177. In early voting, each candidate received 103 votes.

Despite a large field of candidates, the Bridgeport school board races were decided with no runoffs needed.

Scott Hiler won place 6 with 356 votes. His opponents, incumbent Ken Kilpatrick and Donald Majka, received 126 and 109 votes, respectively. Steve Stanford won place 7 with 353 votes. Loretta Hill drew 119 votes in that race, Robert Marlett, 95 and Steven Lara, 26.


Louis Godfrey defeated Mark Lorance for the Rhome mayor’s job, 117-88. Incumbents Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman were re-elected to two at-large seats on the city council with 122 and 90 votes, respectively. In the same race, Timothy Robison received 79 votes, Shawn Holliman, 48 and Jason Miller, 38.


The incumbents declared victory in the Chico school board race, although it was close. G.A. Buckner won place 6 with 248 votes to J.D. Coffman’s 221, and Doug Bowyer won place 7 with 245 votes to Noel Ruddick’s 226.

Coffman and Ruddick both won the early vote but couldn’t hold on through election day.


Jim Lamirand defeated Ricky Stutt 190-145 for place 3 on the Decatur school board, and Pete Rivera received 14 votes in the same race.

Dr. Jeff Alling was re-elected to place 4 with 245 votes, beating Charles Ross, who received 96.


Jake Tackett easily won place 2 on the Boyd school board. He received 138 votes, while opponent Cathy Gordon received 23 and Mikeul Fite, 15. Unopposed candidates Rebecca Parr (place 1) and Jana Tate (place 3) were re-elected, receiving 154 and 158 votes, respectively.


Cary Mellema’s 34 votes was enough to secure place 1 on the Newark City Council. His opponent, Monique Murray, received 20 votes.

Incumbents Linda Anderson (place 2) and Doug Anderson (place 3) were unopposed and got 42 and 47 votes, respectively.


In the Northwest school board races, incumbent Devonna Holland was re-elected to place 5 with 1,064 votes, edging Jerry Burkett who polled 1,046.

Lillian Rauch defeated five opponents for place 6 with 750 votes. Kristi Wade received 711, Andrew Bennett, 257, Stan Durham, 265, Aaron Fraser, 122 and Edward Mergenthal, 47.

Mel Fuller defeated Doug Smith 1,201-853 to secure re-election to Northwest’s place 7.

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Godfrey wins mayor’s race

Louis Godfrey will transition from the council to Rhome’s top job after winning the mayor’s race Saturday.

He defeated Mark Lorance, who once held the mayor’s post, 117-88. Lorance said he was asked by several people to come back and run again.

“I gave it a shot and tried to get my message out there the best I could, and it just didn’t work out,” he said. “If the citizens want someone else to step into that position, then that’s OK.

“I volunteered my services, tried to get my message out and I guess Louis had a better message.”

Godfrey says he feels “fine” about the win, and he wants to see the city grow in a positive way.

“I want the city to have positive relations all the way around,” he said. “It’s time to get a master plan into effect, but not all of this will take place overnight.

“… I plan to work very hard for the people of this city, whatever it takes to get the job done,” he said. “I’m not afraid of long hours, and I’m not afraid of hard work, as long as we can all stay on track and do things together, I think we’ll all do just fine.”

Two at-large council seats were up for grabs and were secured by incumbents Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman. Wilson received 122 votes, and Pittman got 90, beating Timothy Robison (79), Shawn Holliman (48) and Jason Miller (38).

“I am pleased that people wanted me back in, and I got more votes than I ever have,” said Wilson, who is starting her fourth term. “I really enjoy it. A lot of people have my cell phone number, and that’s good. If I can be of any help, I will try. I think that’s important, particularly in a small town. I just appreciate all the support I’ve been given.”

Wilson said she would like to address water needs and road repair in the next two years.

Pittman’s win secures her second term, and she wants to see the city develop a five-year plan for a safety complex that would house the police and fire departments. She also wants to include a community center and sports fields in that plan. She said they also need to evaluate infrastructure for water and sewer to ensure everything is in place to accommodate growth, especially commercial growth.

Pittman said she’s honored to be re-elected.

“It’s been a rocky two years, but it’s been a privilege to get to be a part of helping people,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of challenges, and I feel like I’ve been the Lone Ranger sticking up for some things that I feel strongly about … I want to get away from that.”

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Hiler, Stanford claim school board seats

After the votes were tallied, Bridgeport ISD had two new school board members Saturday night.

Scott Hiler and Steve Stanford won places 6 and 7, respectively.

Stanford beat out three candidates – Loretta Hill, Robert Marlett and Steven Lara – to claim the seat vacated when incumbent Marti Hines chose not to run.

Hiler defeated 15-year board veteran Ken Kilpatrick and former Bridgeport mayor Donald Majka.

Kilpatrick said the voters made their choice. He said he plans to move on and wishes Hiler all the best.

“When you’re in a political race it’s a yes or no,” Kilpatrick said. “The voters run the board just like the city. Scott will do a great job.”

Hiler said he was excited, and added that his first job as a new board member is getting acclimated to his new responsibilities and understanding what is required. His first board meeting is 7 p.m. May 19.

“Ken called to congratulate me and wish me well. I’m not really sure what led to that in my success. I led a positive campaign, and Ken and Majka led one too,” Hiler said. “There might have been a sense in the community to have more members on the board that have kids in the district.”

He said his family is excited for his win, but admittedly his three young daughters might not fully understand what all the hubbub is about.

“My wife and I view this as a family commitment and opportunity to further serve the community,” Hiler said.

Hiler also volunteers at his daughter’s school with D.O.G.S. and with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Hiler and Stanford will be sworn in May 19. Stanford is assistant chief for the Bridgeport Police Dept. and believes his experience in law enforcement as well as his Christian beliefs have prepared him for the board.

“I have a great sense of ‘service before self,'” Stanford said. “I want to serve our district with excellence and be a small piece to help raise the standard for Bridgeport ISD. I believe my current profession will only have a positive effect on my position as a trustee. I have a great understanding of leadership and management in the public sector, as well as the ability to filter personal agendas.”

Stanford said with budget season on the horizon, his first priority after some training is to get up-to-date on where the district is fiscally.

Stanford said he believes the voter turnout indicates some change is needed in the district and shows people care.

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