Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

March 6, 2014

Primaries decide some races, set stage for others


— By CLINT FOSTER



The dust from Tuesday's primary elections has settled and it was the incumbents who ruled the day in Palo Pinto County.

With only one Democrat running for a county seat that would be contested in November's general election, the bulk of county races began and ended in the Republican primary. Of the 13 races for GOP county offices, only three were contested – County Judge, District Clerk and County Clerk – all of which saw incumbents emerge victorious.

District Clerk Janie Glover won by the largest margin among county candidates, securing her fourth consecutive term over Stacie Frye with 80.2 percent of the vote, 2,337-577.

County Judge David Nicklas locked up his second term with a comfortable 73.85 percent of the vote. Surrounded by family members of all ages, he watched as his vote totals grew to 2,155 compared to competitor Earnest Pechacek's 763.

"I really appreciate the support the voters of the county have given me," he said after the final precinct rolled in. "I'm really looking forward to another four years of prosperity with all the exciting things going on in Palo Pinto County right now."

County Clerk Janette Green had the closest race. Opponents Debbie Murray and Jessica Wright split the vote, and Green came away with a narrow victory with 50.83 percent, earning 1,446 votes.

Democrat Theresa Crosier unseated incumbent and write-in Ida Nickerson for Democratic County Chair. In an email to her constituents, Nickerson welcomed the county's new Democratic chair with open arms.

"I will finish my term and go back to doing what I love: serving you and this county through our beloved restaurant [Shotgun's BBQ]," she said.

With the primary elections over, the only local race that remains for Palo Pinto County voters is that of Precinct 4 Commissioner.

Republican incumbent Jeff Fryer will face off against Democrat challenger Raymond Procter. Both candidates ran uncontested in their respective primaries.

At the state level, about two-thirds of GOP voters in Palo Pinto County came out in support of incumbent State Representative for District 60, Jim Keffer (R-Eastland), helping him to a victory over his competitor, Cullen Crisp. Keffer earned 63.32 percent of the Palo Pinto County vote – 1,872-1,084 – contributing to an overall victory with 56.29 percent, 14,160-10,992.

As expected, the primaries set the stage for a governor's race between Attorney General Greg Abbot for the Republicans and State Senator Wendy Davis for the Democrats. Davis won comfortably in her primary over Reynaldo Madrigal, gaining 79.05 percent of the vote, 432,065-114,458. Among Palo Pinto County Democrats, Davis took a whopping 87 percent of the vote, 308-46.

Against his three primary opponents, Abbot won comfortably, commanding 91.5 percent of votes for a total of 1,219,831 out of 1,333,010. In Palo Pinto County, Abbot was equally successful, wooing 91.27 percent of local Republican voters for 2,721 votes out of 2,981.

One of the most intriguing state races was that of Lieutenant Governor. Palo Pinto County Republicans echoed the rest of Texas, giving challenger Dan Patrick a slim advantage over incumbent David Dewhurst. Locally Patrick received 32.45 percent of the vote compared to Dewhurst's 30.7 percent. This contributed to a statewide advantage for Patrick with 41.45 percent of the vote.

The results set the stage for a runoff between the two candidates, which will occur in an election on May 27. The winner will face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the general election.

In national races, incumbents also took the cake with the help of Palo Pinto County voters. Against a bevy of opponents, Republican John Cornyn won his primary with 59.44 percent of the Texas vote. Locally, Cornyn received an even greater percentage, earning 64.59 percent and 1,903 of the 2,946 votes cast.

Cornyn will face the winner of a Democratic runoff between David Alameel and Kesha Rogers. Between the two, Palo Pinto County Democrats favored Alameel, casting 55.24 percent of votes in his favor.

Another key national race in Palo Pinto County was that of US District 11 Representative. Incumbent Mike Conaway didn't have to break much of a sweat in the race, earning his victory over Wade Brown with 73.67 percent of the vote district-wide. In Palo Pinto County, 66 percent of Republicans voted on Conaway's behalf, giving him a 1,741-896 win at the local level.

“I am flattered, honored, and humbled," Conaway said of the win. "This victory is a testament to the good work that takes place in my five offices across a 29-county district. It also confirms that my conservative voting record reflects the positions of the people whom I represent. I spend a great deal of time meeting with the residents of the 11th District. I am blessed to have the opportunity to represent them. They are good, decent people and I am grateful for their support.  If I am re-elected in November, I look forward to continuing to represent them."