|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - March 2, 2008 - March 9, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Trinity Standard - March 2008
GROVETON – With national races helping to drive up interest, a record number of Trinity County voters turned out to narrowly re-elect Joe Ned Dean as district attorney and send Steven Jones and Brent Lee into an April 8 runoff for sheriff.
A total of 5,254 Trinity County residents turned out for both the Democratic and Republican primaries, which represents 47.6 percent of the 11,034 registered to vote.
Of that number, 4,963 voted in the Democratic Party primary while 291 cast ballots in the Republican Party primary.
A total of 2,670 local resident cast early votes in the primaries, or 24.2 percent of the registered total.
During early voting, 1,700 voted in Trinity, 521 voted in Groveton, 230 voted in Apple Springs and 219 voted by mail.
The vote totals from Tuesday’s primaries topped the number recorded locally in the 2004 primaries. In that hotly contested election, 4,580 voters turned out for the primaries or 43.5 percent of the number registered that year. Early voting that year attracted 2,178 or 20.7 percent of the total eligible to vote.
Because there were no Republicans seeking county or precinct offices in this year’s primary, the winners in the Democratic races are expected to be unopposed in the November general election.
In the hotly contested race for the 258th District Attorney’s post, incumbent Joe Ned Dean narrowly defeated Janet Reynolds Cassels.
Dean captured 2,417 votes (50.1%) while Cassels finished only 12 votes behind with 2,405.
Dean, a retired district judge, is seeking his second four-year term as the district attorney.
Another hot race on Tuesday’s ballot was that for the Trinity County Sheriff’s position and with three contenders seeking the office, none were able to garner the needed 50.01 percent of the vote to win the party nomination.
This means the two top finishers Tuesday – Jones and Lee –advance to an April 8 runoff election.
In Tuesday’s primary, Lee led the pack with 2,046 votes (42.6%) while Jones closely followed with 1,890 votes (39.3%). Pct. 2 Constable Richard “Ricky” Hortman trailed the other two with 871 votes (18.1%).
Jones, a former Trinity police officer, was appointed as sheriff in April 2007 following the resignation of former Sheriff Jimmy Smith.
Lee is a retired supervisor with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The only other county-wide contested race was for the tax assessor-collector’s position currently held by Kathy McCarty, who is not seeking re-election.
McCarty’s deputy, Lindy Madden Warren easily won, defeating Jolie Webb Lane. Madden received 2,930 votes (66.8%) while Webb garnered 1,457 votes in the race.
Two of the county’s four precinct commissioner posts were on the ballot this year and both incumbents drew opponents.
In the Precinct 1 race, incumbent Grover “Tiger” Worsham easily held off the challenge from Keith Kesinger in the primary. Worsham received 812 votes (61.7%) while Kesinger was given 503 votes.
In the Precinct 3 race, long-time incumbent Cecil Webb also rolled to an easy win, defeating Randy Barrett by a margin of 769 votes (69.3%) to 341.
All four of the county’s precinct constable positions were up for grabs in this year’s primary, with incumbents winning in three of the races.
In Precinct 1, incumbent Woody Wallace held off the challenge from Jim “Doc” McLaughlin. Wallace garnered 725 votes (64.7%) compared to McLaughlin’s 396.
The Precinct 2 constable’s race was the only one of the four that did not feature an incumbent. Hortman, the current constable, chose to run for sheriff this year.
However, Hortman’s deputy constable, W. Rankin Ramsey was in the race but fell short with Groveton Police Sgt. Robert Sterling Johnson taking a narrow win.
Johnson received 489 votes (50.7%) while Ramsey finished 13 votes back at 476.
The Precinct 3 constable race pitted longtime incumbent James O. Reynolds against challenger Steve “Rusty” Barrett. Reynolds won with 604 votes (59.3%) compared to Barrett’s 414.
In Precinct 4, incumbent Donald Kent Blanchard was the winner with 691 votes (60%) while challenger Richard Steptoe received 460 votes.
Also on the Democratic Party ballot was the post of Trinity County Attorney. Longtime incumbent Joe Werner Bell was unopposed in the race and received 3,371 votes.
Fredie L. Chapman also was unopposed on the Democratic ballot for the post of Trinity County Democratic Chairman. He received 3,046 votes.
The only local Republican candidate in the GOP primary was Sid Wilson, who was seeking the office of Trinity County Republican Party Chairman. He received 233 votes.