It was a nail-biter – right up until the Tolar box came in.
And then months of hard work were over.
Tolar School Board trustee James Deaver was the victor in Tuesday’s runoff election against Jean Cochran for the Precinct 1 county commissioner seat, winning 54 percent of the vote to her 46 percent. Of the 626 total votes for Deaver, 202 came from Tolar on Election Day.
Statewide, in the heated Republican and Democratic runoffs for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison, the victors were Republican Ted Cruz (57 percent of the vote) and Democrat Paul Sadler (63 percent of the vote). Fifteen percent of Hood County’s 33,782 registered voters voted in that race.
In the local Commissioners Court competition, Deaver and Cochran had won the most votes in a four-candidate race in the May Republican primary election, besting Michael Lacey and two-term incumbent Mike Sympson. However, neither received 50 percent of the vote, plus one, to be declared the outright victor in that contest.
Both Deaver and Cochran were among a small group that gathered at Annex 1 to see box-by-box results as they came in after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Deaver got the most votes during Early Voting – 247 to Cochran’s 212 – but Cochran was the favorite in boxes 11, 3, 7 and 12. She did not score enough of a lead, though, to stand a chance against Tolar.
“It’s not enough,” she said, as those totals were posted while election workers waited for Tolar’s voting machines to arrive.
“I’m kind of shell-shocked right now,” Deaver said immediately after Tolar’s Box 5 was projected onto a wall. “It’s good that Tolar’s got a voice now. Tolar pulled me through.”
Deaver expressed appreciation to his supporters and gave credit to Cochran for running a clean race.
“We both got out and worked our rear-ends off,” said Deaver, who works for the county’s Road Operations department. “I wish her luck. I’m going to do my best.”
With Deaver’s election, the Commissioners Court likely will have two new faces come Jan. 1. Jeff Tout won in the Republican primary against Leonard Heathington, who was hoping for a third term in the Place 3 seat. No Democrats sought a seat on the court during this year’s election cycle. However, the deadline is not over for write-in candidates to file.
Several precinct chair positions were part of the runoff election. Winners were Norman Smith (Precinct 2), Lindsay Morgan (Precinct 5) and Amy Emerson (Precinct 9).