Ray, Harris earn commissioner spots in runoff
Tammy Ray will be Somervell County’s new Precinct 3 commissioner and Jeff Harris will be the Precinct 1 commissioner after they won their respective races Tuesday night in the Republican Runoff Election.
Harris defeated Tonja “T.J.” Sims in the Precinct 1 runoff, 251 votes to 131. Ray defeated Lisa Anderson in the Precinct 3 runoff, 270 votes to 155.
There were no Democrats or Independents running, so after the votes are officially canvassed the winners of the runoff will be taking office as of Jan. 1.
Also Tuesday, Shelby Slawson, a Stephenville attorney and businesswoman, easily defeated incumbent J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville in the Republican Runoff Election for the Texas House of Representatives District 59 seat by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent of the vote. Sheffield has been in office since 2012.
The number of early voters in Somervell County overall was strong, with 58 Democrats and 894 Republicans, according to Elections Administrator Christy Covey.
“They’re pretty good,” Covey said late Tuesday afternoon before the final overall voting totals from the Somvervell County Expo Center were delivered to the Annex Building. “The numbers were a lot higher than we were expecting them to be. The local races are bringing people out.”
Ray received 270 votes to 155 for Andersen overall, in a race between two first-time candidates for public office. Ray, the Animal Control officer for Glen Rose, will have recorded 20 years of full-time employment with the city of Glen Rose this September.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Kenneth Wood was unsuccessful in the re-election bid, finishing one vote behind Anderson in the March 3 Republican Primary Election, and five votes behind Ray.
Current Precinct 1 Commissioner Larry Hulsey did not seek re-election.
Harris retired in 2014 after serving as principal of Glen Rose High School and Glen Rose Intermediate School during a 30-year career in public education. His only previous candidacy for public office was in 2014 when he unsuccessfully ran for Somervell County clerk. The run for commissioner was Anderson’s first time to seek public office.
The other two commissioner positions — Precinct 2, held by Dwayne Johnson, and Precinct 4, held by Wade Busch — are not up for election this time around.
“I’m thrilled,” Ray said after seeing the totals posted on the video screen outside the Somervell County Annex Building in downtown Glen Rose Tuesday night. “It was a lot of hard work, out there knocking on doors and talking to citizens.
“Today was one stressful day. It’s been a very interesting race. I’ve learned a lot. I’m looking forward to working with our citizens and working with the commissioners to make Somervell County more prosperous.”
Harris told the Glen Rose Reporter, “I”m just relieved that the day got here and it’s done, and obviously humbled and pleased by the outcome. It’s a humbling experience. But I enjoyed the process. I enjoyed talking to the people in my precinct and getting their ideas, getting their feedback, just as a candidate.
“I really look forward to working with the other commissioners. We have a great place to live. Glen Rose is a wonderful community. Having been a part of it with the school district, I’m looking forward to being a part of it with the county now.”
Anderson, who works at Glen Rose Medical Center, said, “Tammy was a worthy opponent. She was out hustling. She was definitely a tough opponent. If you think about it, you don’t ever lose if you get out there and try. It’s a learning experience. I think she’s going to do a great job.”
Sims, contacted Wednesday morning, stated in an email, “It was an honor and privilege to be in a run-off with Jeff Harris for the Commissioner position for Precinct 1. I would like to thank God, for giving me the courage to take a leap of faith. For my family and friends that have, and will always be in my corner and for the voters for their consideration to represent them in our precinct.
“It was a very trying time during this election run and I can only pray it gets better for all of us. Mr. Harris will make a great Commissioner and I wish him and all the elected officials the very best. May God bless our County and Country.”
Among Somervell County voters, Slawson had 935 votes compared to 474 for Sheffield. In the early voting period, Slawson built a lead of 625-249. On the Runoff Election Day Tuesday, Slawson added 310 more Somervell County votes to her total while Sheffield added 125.
“What an incredible journey,” Slawson said. “For the last year the people in HD59 have been uniting around our shared values and building out a broad coalition of Central Texas conservatives ready to fight for our Texas. The election results bear witness to the power of us everyday citizens when we work together. I am honored, and deeply humbled, by the confidence our folks have placed in our campaign and look forward to serving you and fighting for you as we Keep Texas Red.”
Texas House District 59 includes Somervell, Erath, Comanche, Coryell, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills and San Saba counties.
Here are additional Somervell County vote totals cast Tuesday in other races:
— U.S. Senator, Democrat: Mary Hegar 80, Royce West 48.
— Railroad Commissioner, Democrat: Chrysta Castaneda 89, Roberto Alonzo 37.