Democrat Dwayne Griffin's message of experience and change apparently resonated with Somervell County voters who chose him as the Democratic candidate for county judge over incumbent Walter Maynard and Glen Rose Mayor Pam Miller.
In the closely watched race, Griffin defeated Maynard by a margin of 61 percent to 28 percent. Miller received almost 11 percent of the 883 votes cast in the county judge race in the Democratic primary.
Griffin, who currently serves as Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, will face Republican Mike Ford, who currently is a county commissioner, in the November general election. Running unopposed in his party, Ford drew 685 votes.
Maynard, who has served as county judge for 12 years, ran largely on his business management, budget experience and years of tax knowledge. Now was not the time for change, he said at a recent candidates forum.
But Miller, who ran on her track record as a tax cutter and her fiscal responsibility, had stressed the need for change, as did Griffin.
Ford has said that, if elected, he also plans to bring a different brand of leadership to county government.
Of the 5,524 registered voters in the county, 1,836 cast ballots — 946 in the Republican primary and 890 in the Democratic primary.
Election results trickled in as a crowd of more than 50 people braved the cold and gathered in front of the Somervell County Courthouse as voters have done for years. The chairpersons for each political party wrote the results with markers on big white boards. The final totals were not available until almost 11 p.m.
In the County Commissioner, Precinct 2, election, Republican John Curtis, who worked as a radiation manager at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, defeated Terry Gosdin, a retired public school teacher and administrator, by a margin of 66 to 34 percent. Curtis received 173 votes to Gosdin's 88.
The winner will face Democrat Paul Harper, who was uncontested in his party. He operates the local food bank, is an engineer for software giant Microsoft Corp. and, with his wife, Debbie, runs the populist online new Web site salon.glenrose.net. Harper received 98 votes.
In the County Commissioner, Precinct 4 race, Pete Moore, owner of Glen Rose Auto Parks, was the only Democrat running. He drew 158 votes.
Moore will face incumbent James Barnard, who also ranunopposed in his party's primary. Barnard, who worked at General Motors for more than 31 years before retiring, stressed his fiscal conservatism in a recent candidates forum. He received 157 votes.
Incumbent Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Ronnie Webb ran as a Democrat and had no Republican opponent. He was appointed to the position by Maynard, but now he can say he's been elected. He received 315 votes.
For Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Scott May defeated Larry Mann with 332 votes, or more than 74 percent, to Mann's 114 votes, or almost 26 percent.
Several Democrats ran unopposed. Re-elected to their positions were Candace Garrett for district and county clerk — the county's top vote-getter with 681 ballots — and Barbara Hudson, 651 votes, for Somervell County treasurer. Marty McPherson was elected the local Democratic Party chair with 659 ballots cast.
Republican Party chair Deedee Jones also was re-elected to her post with 668 votes.
In the race for State Senator, District 22, Republican Darren Yancy, a Burleson insurance agent, was the sole contender for the seat after Republican incumbent Kip Averitt withdrew from the election for health reasons. Yet Averitt carried Somervell County with 59 percent of the vote to Yancy's 41 percent.
Another closely watched race was for State Representative, District 59, which pitted incumbent Republican Sid Miller against Gatesville physician J.D. Sheffield, a political novice who ran largely on a healthcare platform. Miller, who ran ads featuring his picture with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, won more than 68 percent of the vote in the county to Sheffield's almost 32 percent.
Incumbent U.S. Representative Chet Edwards, D-Waco, received 591 votes. Republican challenger Rob Curnock, who led the pack of five Republicans, garnered 345 votes, or more than 42 percent, in the county.
In the governor's race, the county gave incumbent Rick Perry a majority with more than 50 percent of the vote, followed by Debra Medina with almost 26 percent and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison with almost 24 percent. Democrat Bill White received almost 85 percent of the votes cast, with Farouk Shami a distant second with 4.5 percent.
In other contested state races, Somervell County voters chose David Porter over Victor Carrillo for railroad commissioner; Al Scoggins over incumbent Felipe Reyna for justice, 10th Court of Appeals;
Ronnie Earle over Linda Chavez-Thompson and Marc Katzy for lieutenant governor; Bill Burton over Hector Uribe for land commissioner; and Hank Gilbert over Richard “Kinky” Friedman for agriculture commissioner.