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Stories Added - July 2008
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Democrats pick Brown; Gibson files as independent
Trinity Standard - July 2008
GROVETON – At least a two-man race for the Precinct 4 Trinity County commissioner’s seat has developed this week between a Democrat and an independent.
Last week officials with the Democratic Party selected Jimmy Brown, a transmission repair shop owner from the Centerville area, as their nominee.
He will appear on the November general election ballot seeking to fill the two-year unexpired term created by the resignation of former Commissioner Travis Forest of Apple Springs.
On Monday, James Britt Gibson of Apple Springs submitted his application seeking the commissioner’s seat as an independent candidate.
Gibson, who serves as the criminal investigator for the Trinity County Attorney’s Office, was one of five people who had sought the Democratic Party’s nomination last week.
Republican Party officials have indicated they will not make a formal nomination for the office.
According to Trinity County Democratic Party Chairman Fredie Chapman, Brown was selected on June 24 during a meeting of the Precinct 4 voting box chairpersons.
Those voting on the nominee’s selection included Chapman and the eight chairpersons.
While Chapman declined to announce the exact vote, he said that Brown won a “majority vote on the first ballot.”
After Brown’s selection, Gibson announced his plan to run for the office as an independent and on Monday he managed to submit his petition and application to Trinity County Judge Mark Evans just under the deadline.
“According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Monday at 5 p.m. was the deadline to file as an independent,” Evans said, noting that the “30-day window” for independents to file began when Forrest resigned on May 30.
“Mr. Gibson’s petition is now being checked (by the county clerk’s office) and as soon as that is completed, I will notify him whether or not it has been accepted,” the judge said.
Under the Texas Election Code, to appear on the ballot as an independent, candidates for the Precinct 4 commissioner’s seat must submit a petition containing signatures of 37 registered voters from Precinct 4 (a number equal to 5 percent of Precinct 4 vote in the last gubernatorial election).
To be eligible to sign the petition for an independent candidate, voters must not have voted in either the Democratic or Republican primaries earlier this year.
“I’ve been advising everyone to get at least 40 or 50 signatures in case some of the names are rejected,” County Clerk Diane McCrory said this week.
Normally, Gibson also would be excluded from running as an independent because he voted in the 2008 Democratic Party primary.
However, according to County Attorney Joe Bell, because the Precinct 4 commissioner’s seat was not on the primary ballot, an exception to that rule was created.
While the deadline for getting on the ballot as an independent has now passed, both Evans and McCrory said those wishing to file as write-in candidates have until late August.
McCrory noted that under state law, write-in candidates must register and file applications in order to have their votes count in the November general election. Information and forms for the process can be obtained through the county clerk’s office in Groveton.
The final two years on Forrest’s term came up for grabs when the longtime commissioner resigned, effective May 30.
Evans then appointed former Trinity County Extension Agent James Alford as the Precinct 4 Commissioner until the November general election.
Alford, who also sought the Democratic Party nomination last week, became the first African-American to hold a county office.