Sat, 2016-03-05 14:12 News Staff
Several county races require runoff elections
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Some candidates held “watch parties” at various locations in Coryell County, but the main hub of primary election night activity was at the Coryell County Republican Headquarters located on the courthouse square in Gatesville.
As results began to roll in after the polls closed at 7 p.m., those assembled had the chance to pore over the early election returns. Watchers ate pizza and other snacks while waiting, and one candidate even had a group of family and friends waiting and watching in the parking lot on the south side of the courthouse.
The final results containing the numbers from all county precincts came in at 9:27 p.m. on Tuesday, with the delay due to the long lines at Copperas Cove polling locations like the Copperas Cove Civic Center and the county annex in Copperas Cove.
Coryell County Republican Chair, Jack Barcroft, called voter turnout “recordbreaking” on Tuesday evening. A total of 7,859 voted in the primary, more than double 2008’s numbers of 3,510. This represents 22.73 percent of the county’s voters.
With a large field of candidates running in county races for the Republican Party, that drew many voters to the polls as well as the Presidential primary.
In the race for Coryell County sheriff, Butch Ronne and Scott A. Williams are in a runoff. Ronne received 25.49 percent of the votes, with Williams receiving 22.02 percent. The other four candidates finished as follows: Clayton Williams, 19.15 percent; Armando Paniagua, 18.43 percent; James Kitchens, 12.64 percent, and Ronald Dayton, 2.28 percent, with 7.24 percent of voters choosing no candidate for that race and under-voting.
In the county constable races, only one position will require a runoff, with Teddy Brock and Bo Mayberry in a runoff for precinct 4 constable. The two bested their opponents, with Brock receiving 35.66 percent of the votes and Mayberry receiving 31.55 percent.
For constable in precinct 3, Dewey Jones bested William “Willie B” Bertelson by getting 74.80 percent to Bertelson’s 25.2 percent.
Two of the three county commissioner positions require runoffs, with W.B. Maples and Kyle Matthews facing off for the precinct 1 spot.
Matthews led the pack of five candidates, winning 29.2 percent of the votes, followed by Maples with 23.47 percent. Candidates John Derrick, Larry Riddle and Samuel Thorpe Jr. received 16.98, 15.98 and 14.37 percent, respectively, with a range of 52 votes separating the three of them.
In the race for county commissioner for precinct 4, candidate Ray Ashby received 41 percent of the votes, with candidate Marla Thompson receiving 32.94 percent. Both came out ahead of incumbent Wyllis Ament, who was filling an unexpired term and received 26.06 percent of the votes.
The general consensus of candidates who are moving on to a runoff election is not to rest on their laurels, but to keep getting out the word that there is still an election going on and they will focus their efforts on connecting with voters.
In state races, Gatesville’s Dr. J.D. Sheffield holds onto the Texas House of Representatives seat for District 59, besting opponent Brent Graves of Stephenville by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.
State Senate District 24 candidates Susan King and Dr. Dawn Buckingham led a six-candidate ticket, with the two now in a runoff for the seat currently occupied by incumbent Troy Fraser.
For Texas Railroad Commissioner, GOP candidates Gary Gates and Wayne Christian will be in a runoff, as will Democrats Grady Yarbrough and Cody Garrett. The winners of those runoffs will face each other on the November 2016 ballot.
Coryell County’s Presidential candidate voting was in line with the state of Texas, with Ted Cruz receiving 43.02 percent of the vote in Coryell County, followed by Donald Trump with 31.08 percent and Marco Rubio receiving 11.42 percent of the votes, compared to 45 percent for Cruz, 28 percent for Trump and 18 percent for Rubio statewide.
Voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes again on runoff election day, May 24, 2016 for the county and state races. There will be one week of early voting, May 16-20.
All candidates who ran unopposed in county races face neither a runoff, nor will they be on the November 2016 ballot, but will take their oaths of office for terms starting Jan. 1, 2017.