Following Tuesday night's final tally of votes, Kaufman County will be welcoming a few new faces into office including a county judge and a district clerk.

A few more decisions, however, will have to wait as apparently four races are headed to runoff elections.

In the county judge’s race, former Terrell and Kaufman school superintendent Bruce Wood defeated Bill Bedrick, 5,048 votes to 4,022 votes, in the Republican Party primary. No Democrat was seeking the office, which means in January Wood will be the new judge.

“I’m so appreciative for my supporters that came out and voted,” Wood said Tuesday night. “I’m looking forward to learning and studying about county government over the next 10 months, and I look forward to leading this county into the next decade.”

Wood also took time to praise his opponent in the race.

“Bill Bedrick is a good man and he ran a good campaign,” Wood said. “I think we both stayed focus on the issues and ran a very clean race.”

Though Bedrick said he had yet to evaluate the outcome of the race, he did extend gratitude to those who cast ballots for him.

“I’d just like to thank the voters of Kaufman County for supporting me,” he said. “I hope Mr. Wood will get in there and lower the taxes for the citizens of Kaufman County.”

Meanwhile Lance Gooden ousted six-term incumbent Betty Brown in the District 4 State Representative’s race that featured a pair of Terrell Republicans. Gooden earned 5,012 votes to Brown’s 4,815 in Kaufman County to give him the edge in the race.

Gooden will face a possible opponent in the November general election in Melissa Pehle-Hill, an Independent from Athens. As an Independent, Pehle-Hill must collect 500 signatures to get onto the November ballot.

Other Republican Party primary winners of contested races on Tuesday night included incumbent State Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), who held off a challenge from Rowlett Republican Sharon Russell by a margin of 5,953 votes to 2,619; incumbent 86th District Court Judge Howard Tygrett, earned 4,958 votes to challenger Raymond Shackelford’s 3,880; Rhonda Hughey, who will succeed her current boss as District Clerk Sandra Featherston after defeating Angela Webb, 4,600 votes to 4,268; incumbent Precinct 2 commissioner Ray Clark, who narrowly defeated challenger William “Skeet” Phillips by a margin of 1,664 to 1,649 votes; and incumbent Republican Party chairman Bill Baker, who defeated challenger Jessica Nixon, 4,619 to 3,977 votes.

No Democrats faced contested primary races, but Sarah Whitaker was re-elected as party chairman while incumbent Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Johnny Perry and County Clerk candidate Sophia Clemon each earned their party’s nomination for the general election. In November, Perry will face a challenge from Republican Eric Williams while Clemon will seek to unseat incumbent Laura Hughes, a Republican. Also Democrat Kathleen Maria Shaw of Cedar Hill will face Deuell in a general election race for District 2 State Senate.

Runoffs on tap

While several key contested races were decided during Tuesday night’s Republican Party primary, it appears four are headed to runoff elections.

No candidate garnered 50 percent or more of the vote in the Kaufman County District Attorney’s race, Precinct 4 commissioner’s race, Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace’s race or the race to be the Precinct No. 27 chairman.

In the district attorney’s race, incumbent Rick Harrsion will once again face off against Mike McLelland in a runoff election. The two met in a runoff four years ago with Harrison winning out. On Tuesday, McLelland earned the most votes, garnering 37.2 percent (3,479 votes) to Harrison’s 33.25 percent (3,110 votes). Andrew Jordan, who currently serves as the county’s lead public defender, came in third with 29.55 percent (2,764 ballots) of the vote.

Meanwhile, in the Precinct 4 commissioner’s race one thing is for certain. There will be a new face in office as incumbent Jim Deller failed to make the runoff with only 24.19 percent (623) of the vote. The runoff election will feature Joe Windham, who received 826 votes (32.08 percent) and Tom Manning, who earned 740 votes (28.74 percent). Thomas Kintz finished fourth in the race with 386 votes (14.99 percent).

In the Precinct 2 race, a one-time holder of the Justice of the Peace office, Patricia Ashcroft, earned the most votes with 1,400, or 42.18 percent. She will face Wade Gent in a runoff after he received 1,350 votes, or 40.67 percent. Others seeking the office included Jacob Thomas (399 votes) and Charles Floyd (170 votes).

In the Precinct 27 chairman’s race, Rod Kinkaid earned 40.14 percent of the votes (167) forcing a runoff with Chris Simpson, who received 154 votes, or 37.02 percent. Tom Muse also ran for the seat, earning 95 votes, or 22.84 percent.

The runoff elections will be held April 13.

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