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Candidates battling in runoff election

Staff Writer
Glen Rose Reporter
J.D. Sheffield

Early voting in the 2020 Primary Runoff Election will continue through Friday, July 10, and the Primary Runoff Election Day is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14.

Somervell County voters will choose the winner in two runoffs for spots on the Commissioners Court. They will also be able to vote for either incumbent J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville or challenger Shelby Slawson of Stephenville for the District 59 race for the Texas House of Representatives.

In the runoffs for Somervell County commissioner, Tonja “T.J.” Sims is facing Jeff Harris for the Precinct 1 spot.

For the Precinct 3 commissioner post, Tammy Ray and Lisa Andersen are contending in the runoff. Ray led among three candidates in the March Republican Primary Election, with 128 votes, just ahead of Anderson with 124.

Early voting for the Texas Primary Runoff Election began Monday. The early voting poll in Somervell County is in the Somervell County Annex Building Conference Room, 206 Elm St. in Glen Rose. The early voting hours will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Early voting days will continue from Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 10. The building will be closed July 3-4 for the Fourth of July.

Election Day for the Primary Runoff will be Tuesday, July 14, with the voting for all four local commissioner precincts to be held in the Somervell County Expo Center, 202 Bo Gibbs Blvd. in Glen Rose, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

CANDIDATES SPEAK

Lisa Andersen — Andersen, a business owner who is also public relations director for Glen Rose Medical Center, stated:

“I have been a resident of Somervell County for 19 years. I am passionate about our community and I want to represent Precinct 3 and work for you as your commissioner. My goals include connecting with residents in the city and county, efficiency and infrastructure improvements balanced and smart commercial development.

“Somervell County along with the rest of the nation is feeling the financial effects of COVID-19 shutdown and will likely feel the effects for some time. We lost tourism, meaning a loss in sales tax and Hotel (HOT tax) and revenue from some county business. We will need to work collectively to ensure we maintain the integrity of our county for residents and tourists. Tourists are vital for our many small business owners.

“As a commissioner, you must be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, responsive and aware of the needs of all residents in the county.

Tammy Ray — Ray, who is the animal control officer for the city of Glen Rose, stated:

“Should I have the privilege to be the next Commissioner for Precinct 3, I pledge to be available to listen to your concerns and any input regarding county issues. I also pledge to keep the citizens informed and updated on what is happening within the County.

“I have enjoyed visiting with the citizens during my campaign. I have listened and taken note of your concerns. I feel that during these visits I have shown my commitment to being a commissioner.

“My strengths include loyalty, down to earth, easy to talk with, stand up for what is right, keep to my word , and commit to hard work. These strengths have been proven through the longevity of my job for the last 20 years. During this time I have served the citizens as a public servant and will continue to do so with your confidence in me as the next Commissioner of Precinct 3.”

Jeff Harris — Harris, who is retired after working 30 years as a public school educator, released the following statement:

“The health concerns and restrictions have certainly made this an interesting and challenging runoff campaign. It has made visiting with people in the precinct more difficult, however, it was important that we followed the guidelines for keeping each other safe. I have tried to visit with as many folks as I was able. Having two weeks of early voting is a great way to allow voters more time and potentially have fewer voters at a time at the polls.

“I feel that people are going out more now, though still somewhat guardedly. I can assure voters that the poll workers are doing a great job keeping the area sanitized and safe for voters.

“It is important that people get out and vote in the runoff both for local and state outcomes and I hope that we have large numbers voting. I am honored to be in the runoff for Precinct 1 County Commissioner as a conservative republican, and hope to have the opportunity to serve Somervell County.

Tonja “T.J.” Sims — Sims, who has lived in Somervell County for 26 years, is the former owner of The Happy Hippo Gourmet Coffee and Sandwich Shop. She stated:

“I decided to run for the position because I consider myself a very good money manager. My husband recently retired after 32 years at Comanche Peak and we plan to be here until my Lord takes us home. It is very important to me not to only do what is best for my precinct but for everyone in Somervell County.

“No one wants to pay more taxes, but we all want the best of everything. The tax dollars from the Nuclear Station are not unlimited and are declining each year so we must be wise with the taxpayer's money. We must look at all expenditures and determine what is best and most feasible. My goal would be to bring unity between all entities and all work together for the overall progress, improvement and safety of Somervell County.

“I have met some amazing people during this time and I hope given the chance I get to work hard for everyone in my precinct as their Commissioner.”

DISTRICT 59 HOUSE RUNOFF

A runoff in the District 59 race for Texas House of Representatives is between incumbent J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville and Erath County businesswoman and attorney Shelby Slawson. No Democrats or Independent candidates filed to run for that office, so the winner of that runoff election will effectively decide the District 59 representative in Austin.

The Primary Runoff Election was originally scheduled for May 26, but Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation postponing it until July 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the March Republican Primary, Slawson got 46 percent of the votes while Sheffield had 30 percent, making the runoff necessary. Another Republican candidate at that time, Twister J owner Cody Johnson of Stephenville, got 24 percent.

District 59 includes Somervell, Comanche, Coryell, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills and San Saba counties as well as Erath.

“Our campaign was deeply honored to be the top finisher in all 8 counties in the March GOP primary,” Slawson said in a statement to the E-T. “Central Texans sent a loud and clear message that they demand bold representation on our conservative values — standing for God, country, the constitution, our President, law and order, the 2A (the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution), sanctity of life, and fighting for property taxpayers and our schools — and will no longer settle for disengaged, left-leaning representation.

“It’s finally time for us to finish the race together and the momentum is strong! I would be very honored to have the people’s support once again and to be a fearless, authentic conservative fighter for our folks in The Texas House.”

Sheffield stated, “Governor Abbott’s endorsement has been tremendously helpful in this election. The Governor supported me for my conservative values on issues like lower taxes, respect for life and respect for the 2nd Amendment. It is important to keep Texas red and protect these values."

Glen Rose Reporter