RACE IS OVER
Fri, 2016-05-27 05:00 News Staff
Williams, Matthews, Ashby, Brock elected
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Come Jan. 1, 2017, Coryell County will have two new commissioners and a new sheriff
Voters went to the polls on Tuesday for the primary election runoff, deciding the outcome of four county runoffs and five races at the state level.
In the primary election runoff for Coryell County sheriff, Scott A. Williams received 2,109, or 53.81 percent of the votes, compared to Butch Ronne’s 1,810 or 48.19 percent of the votes.
Williams gathered with supporters to include family and friends at the Texas Station Event Center on Tuesday evening to wait as results came in. Upon learning he had won the race, Williams said he planned to take his wife on a well-deserved vacation.
Between now and taking office, he said his first priority as the incoming sheriff will be to meet with Sheriff Johnny Burks, especially with county officials entering the budget-planning process for the fiscal year 2017 budget.
“Changes will come, but nothing catastrophic,” Williams said in response to the future of the department along with concerns voiced that Williams will “fire” personnel after taking office. During the last candidate forum in Gatesville before the election, Williams said one focus will be tackling the drug problem within the county.
Williams has been an investigator for Coryell County District Attorney Dusty Boyd’s office and formerly worked for the sheriff’s department as a jailer, deputy sheriff, and at one time was corporal over the Crisis Intervention Unit at the department.
He came out on top of a field of six candidates, three of whom currently work for the department.
In the race for Coryell County commissioner for precinct 1, Kyle Matthews of Evant narrowly edged out W.B. Maples Jr. of Copperas Cove by a nine-vote margin, with 555 votes compared to Maples’ 546 votes, or 50.41 percent to 49.59 percent. In that race, there were 34 under votes, meaning those voters didn’t cast a vote for either candidate.
Matthews, like Williams, will begin focusing on the budget even though he is not yet in office.
“I plan to attend the budget workshop the end of this month and throughout the month of June and will begin to study the budget under which the county will be operating. It is my goal to continue to meet new people within our county and be visible to voters,” Matthews said. “There are so many individuals I could thank who have supported me during this time, too many to list, but want to extend a huge thank you to my family for their love and support and long hours of work. I honestly appreciate everyone for all for the support as well as continued support as I continue on this journey to keep Coryell County a great place to live. Just know that it is my intent to work for ALL of the citizens within Coryell County.”
The precinct commissioner 4 runoff had a much wider margin in the result, with Ray Ashby garnering 70.31 percent of the votes compared to Marla Thompson’s 29.69 percent, with 694 and 293 votes, respectively.
“I’ve been going to commissioners court ever since the primary election to familiarize myself, and I’ll continue to go, and it’ll be a smooth transition to when I take the seat in January,” Ashby said of his plans between now and Jan. 1.
The race became heated at times between Ashby and Thompson, particularly on social media, between supporters favoring their opposing candidates.
Last week, Ashby was charged with illegal gambling stemming from a Feb. 3 complaint filed with the Gatesville Police Department concerning a 52-card gun raffle held to raise funds for his campaign in January. During an interview with the Leader-Press in late February, Ashby said during questioning by the police department at that time, he offered to return the money to those who had bought cards for the drawing.
Instead, as part of a plea deal with county attorney Brandon Belt’s office last week, Ashby told the Leader-Press that the funds raised have been donated to the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 74 in Gatesville. The case was subsequently dismissed last week.
Incumbent precinct 4 constable Teddy Brock recaptured his seat with 54.87 percent of the votes compared to challenger Bo Mayberry’s 45.13 percent of the votes, or 597-491.
Coryell County Republican Party chairman, Jack P. Barcroft, weighed in on the runoff results and voter turnout.
“Coryell County was fortunate to have so many citizens that were ready to serve our county in hopes of improving on what has already been achieved. I wish voter turnout would have been larger but we are thankful for the 3,967 people that did exercise their right to vote,” Barcroft said. “We saw the ugly side of politics this primary season but Coryell County demonstrated their lack of tolerance to such tactics with their votes. We are very excited to see what the future holds for Coryell County and will work with all of the officeholders in 2016 to ensure our success.”
In state races, Dr. Dawn Buckingham came out ahead of opponent Susan King in the race for State Senator for District 24, by a margin of 67.85 percent to 32.15 percent, 2,425-1,149. The margin was similar statewide, with Buckingham winning 61 percent of the vote to King’s 39 percent. Buckingham will take the spot occupied by Troy Fraser.
For the lone item on the Democratic party ballot in the runoff for Texas Railroad Commissioner, Cody Garrett won in Coryell County, with 111, or 59.54 percent, voters casting their votes for him, and 77, or 40.96 percent, of the votes for Grady Yarbrough. However, statewide, Yarbrough won the primary 54 percent to Garrett’s 46 percent.
In Coryell County, the Republican winner for Texas Railroad Commissioner candidate was Gary Gates with 1,948, or 61.08 percent, over opponent Wayne Christian, who received 1,241, or 38.92 percent, of the votes cast. Statewide, the outcome was also opposite the county results, as it was for the Democratic party, with Christian coming out ahead with 51 percent over Gates’ 49 percent. Christian and Yarbrough will face off in November.
On June 2 at 6:30 p.m. the Coryell County Republican Election Committee will meet at the party headquarters on the square in Gatesville to canvass the runoff election results. The canvass is open to the public.