The race is over for Precinct 2 Ector County Commissioner candidates Brandon Tate and incumbent Greg Simmons after Simmons won nearly 60 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, but the Republican and Democrat victors of the Precinct 4 race are in it for the long haul until November.
Simmons and Tate both had supporters attacking one another’s candidates on social media in days leading up the election. Unofficial results from the Ector County Elections office show Simmons received a total of 2,585 votes and Tate received 1,836 votes.
After results came in Tuesday, Simmons, who has been in office nearly 20 years, said elected officials usually stay in office because they’ve given enough money away that they’ve got people basically supporting them so they keep getting more money.
“And that’s not been the way I’ve operated, obviously. I’ve been very frugal. I’ve been very mindful that every time I give away money, that’s property taxes going up somewhere here in town,” Simmons said. “So when people say that we don’t do enough at the county because I’m too conservative, my thought is I’m working twice as hard because it’s awful hard to tell people, ‘No, you can’t have money and still will you vote for me later.’”
Simmons said he’s proud of his track record and also excited to work with Ector County’s new county judge, as well as work toward the fruition of possibly a new county sales tax and a new courthouse sometime down the road.
“And so I’m glad to be a part of that and just very humbled that the people have entrusted me,” Simmons said, adding that he was thankful for everyone’s support.
Tate could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Republican candidates for county commissioner Precinct 4, Russell Wright and Arlo Chavira, also had some mudslinging since the beginning as Chavira aired dirty laundry about Wright’s arrest history.
Wright came out on top Tuesday night though, receiving 341 votes to Chavira’s 191 votes, unofficial results showed. Chavira could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Early on, Chavira campaigned on information he found on the Texas Department of Public Safety website while conducting a criminal history search of Wright. Kaufman County Court records show Wright was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance in 1989. The case was disposed in 1990 and shows Wright received a deferred adjudication for the charge. Case fee payments were completed in January 1992, records show.
Throughout the campaign, Wright admitted to the arrest that occurred 28 years ago, saying he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” but has never been convicted of anything.
After results came in Tuesday, Wright said the campaign has been an uphill battle all the way.
“From the Precinct Chair, all the way, every turn that I made it was an uphill battle. But I didn’t walk it alone. I had faith and my wife by my side,” Wright said. “I just had a good ground game, went door to door.”
Wright said he’s not getting too excited about the win, though.
“We’re only halfway there. We still have one more hill to climb,” he said.
Wright will face incumbent Armando Rodriguez in November. Rodriguez has held the office for 12 years.
Rodriguez came out ahead of Virginia Bryant in the Democratic Primary by 88 votes, unofficial results showed. Rodriguez won 55.56 percent of the vote with a total of 440 votes, with Bryant taking 44.44 percent with a total of 352 votes.
After the results came in, Rodriguez said he appreciated God and appreciated all of his supporters.
“I will fight for what we can do together to improve our community and Precinct 4,” Rodriguez said.
Bryant’s message was one of thanks for every person that got out to vote and said she hopes people begin to pay attention to what is being done in their county government.
“I want to congratulate Mr. Rodriguez. I do appreciate the fact that he and I both ran a good, clean campaign, got our supporters out,” she said. “The other day I told the Lord: Lord, I don’t know where you’re sending me — I know you’re sending me. I just don’t know if you’re sending me to the courthouse or to my lake house. So I’m going to my lake house.”
Rodriguez said he hopes Bryant is willing to support him as he goes against his Republican challenger in November.