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.
“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.”
“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.”