Local incumbents win new terms

CORRIGAN – Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack and 411th District Judge Kaycee Jones won new four-year terms by wide margins while Mike Nettles, Scott Paske and John Allen Slocomb appeared to have claimed the three at-large Livingston Independent School District seats during Tuesday's elections.

Hammack, who was the Republican Party nominee, defeated his Democrat challenger, Bobby L. Watson, by a vote of 14,721 (77.6%) to 4,247 in the county-wide general election.
Jones, whose judicial district includes Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity counties, held off the write-in challenge of Livingston attorney John Wells. Jones, who was unchallenged in the Republican Primary earlier this year, received a total vote of 25,683 (88.9%) compared to Wells' 3,206.
In the unofficial vote breakdown by county, Polk County favored Jones by a margin of 13,523 (85.4%) to 2,318, San Jacinto County gave Jones a winning margin of 7,672 (91.9) to 676 and Trinity County sided with Jones by a count of 4,488 (95.5%) to 212.

The overall voter turnout in the election was considered to be high and narrowly missed the county's record turnout of 20,323 set during the 2008 general election. In that race, over 52.9 percent of the county's registered voters cast ballots.

In this election, a total of 19,903 voters turned out, which is about 51.7 percent of the 38,533 voters currently registered.

The only other local contested races were for the three at-large seats on the LISD school board. This marked the first time that the local school board race appeared on the same ballot with the general election administered by the county.

During the early voting period, there was some confusion regarding who was eligible to vote in the LISD races but county officials worked to correct the situation. There was no official word Tuesday night on whether any of the candidates would contest the election but reportedly complaints regarding the ballot confusion have been filed with the state.

In this race, voters could select up to three of the eight candidates in the race to fill the positions. Because they are all at-large seats, the three who garner the most votes win the positions.

The preliminary totals announced Tuesday night listed incumbent board member Nettles in first and newcomers Paske and Slocomb in second and third. The totals will remain unofficial until the election is canvassed by the school board and results are accepted.

Following are the unofficial totals announced late Tuesday:
• Nettles: 3,189 (19.25%)
• Paske: 3,110 (18.78%)
• Slocomb: 1,906 (11.51%)
• Kevin Wooten: 1,872 (11.30%)
• Matt Anderson: 1,752 (10.58%)
• Kevin Grimm: 1,621 (9.79%)
• Incumbent Henry O. Ager III: 1,592 (9.62%)
• KaSaundra Leggett: 1,521 (9.18%
In addition, there were a number of uncontested races for county and precinct offices on Tuesday's general election ballot in which only the incumbent officials sought the offices. All were nominated during the Republican primary earlier this year.
The incumbents who were re-elected and their vote totals included:
• District Clerk Bobbye Richards: 15,366
• County Tax Assessor-Collector Leslie Jones Burks: 15,695
• Pct. 1 County Commissioner Bob Willis: 6,310
• Pct. 3 County Commissioner Milton Purvis: 2,317
• Pct. 1 Constable Scott Hughes: 6,338
• Pct. 2 Constable William (Bill) Cunningham: 3,315
• Pct. 3 Constable Ray Myers: 2,303
• Pct. 4 Constable Dana G. (Bubba) Piper: 3,389