The voters have spoken, but in two Granbury City Council races, they didn’t speak loudly enough.
A runoff will have to settle the question of who will be the next mayor of Granbury and who will claim the Place 4 seat.
It would have taken only a few more votes to have given current Mayor Pro Tem Nin Hulett the edge he needed to win the required 50 percent of the vote, plus one, to win the mayoral race outright.
As it is, he will go mano-a-mano with former Mayor David Southern in a runoff set for Dec. 10.
The third candidate in that race, Billy Joe (Scooter) Thomas, garnered 10 percent of the vote.
For the unexpired Place 4 term, early indications are that the hotly contested race that had featured four candidates may get more fiery now that’s down to two: financial advisor Tony Mobly and healthcare professional Rose B. Myers. Mobly told the Hood County News he is hopeful that there will be a candidates forum where he and Myers will be able to square off.
Although Tuesday night served as a comma rather than period for those two races, there was no question where voters stood on most other local issues.
Tony Allen was handily re-elected to the Place 2 position on the Granbury City Council, and voters gave a thumbs up to an $85 million bond question for improvements and additions to Granbury school district campuses.
All nine state propositions that were on the ballot also passed.
In the city of deCordova, longtime Mayor Dick Pruitt, who suffered a stroke earlier this year, prevailed in a challenge posed by Kay Bailey. Pruitt garnered 426 votes to Bailey’s 369, netting 54 percent of the vote.
The race for Place 6 on the Granbury School Board was a tight one between Joe W. Jones and Robert Lee Carter, but it was Jones who prevailed. He received 2,595 votes to Carter’s 2,556. It was a razor-thin split, with Jones winning 50.38 percent of the votes to his opponent’s 49.62 percent.
Twenty-one percent of Hood County’s 34,611 registered voters turned out during the two-week early voting period and on Election Day Tuesday. The total number of ballots cast during early voting was 3,350. On Election Day, it was 3,945. With 79 absentee ballots, that brought the total number of votes cast to 7,374.
The election was the maiden voyage of the county’s new elections administrator, Jenise “Crickett” Miller.
“Everything went pretty well for my first time,” she said Wednesday, the morning after Election Day.
Miller stated that turnout was fairly heavy, especially in Precincts 10 and 16. Voting for Precinct 10 took place at Acton Baptist Church. Precinct 16 is Pecan Plantation.
It was the ballot box at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church – Precinct 13 – that had Granbury City Council candidates who were in neck-and-neck races holding their breath Tuesday night at American Town Hall.
granbury city council
Of the 5,244 registered voters in the city of Granbury, 2,390 – 46 percent – voted, according to Miller.
Allen won 53 percent of the vote, and the right to hang onto his Place 2 seat. John Bratta came in second, with 28 percent of the votes, followed by J.T. Winn with 15 percent and Phoenix (John) Van Daele with four percent.
For a while, it looked as if Hulett might be able to skirt a runoff and win the mayor’s seat. But as the city’s 10 ballot boxes filtered in, the gap began to close between him and Southern.
Hulett nevertheless won the most votes – 738 to Southern’s 597, for a 49.56 to 40.09 vote split. Thomas’ vote count was 154.
Southern received more votes than Hulett in Precincts 1, 2, 8 and 14. Hulett got more votes than Southern in Precincts 3, 4, 9, 10 and 13. Hulett swept Precinct 13, with 143 votes to Southern’s 72, and also won the largest number of early votes – 464 to Southern’s 395 and Thomas’ 65.
After all the boxes were in and it was clear that there would be a runoff, a seemingly weary Hulett came to grips with the fact that he will have to campaign all over again.
“I worked it pretty hard,” he said of the first time around. “I’m going to work harder.”
Myers said she was “so pleased” with the results and expressed appreciation for those who voted for her.
tolar isd, other races
In the race for Place 1 on the Tolar School Board, Tommy Matthews led against Brooks Goodson in early voting (29 votes to 22), but Goodson swept the election when box 5 came in with 172 votes to Matthews’ 107.
Goodson won with 59 percent of the vote.
In Place 5, Dalton Nix scored 69 percent of the vote to Mark Waldrep’s 31 percent.
Of the three candidates in Place 6, it was Kris Hall who was the victor. He won 48 percent of the vote to Wayne Wienecke’s 38 percent and Scott Buckelew’s 14 percent. The vote counts, respectively, were 161, 130 and 47.
Brian Thomas was unopposed for Place 7. He got 282 votes.
In deCordova, Steve Duncan was unopposed for Place 4 and Kathy Murray was unopposed for Place 5.
They received 622 and 607 votes, respectively.
A Bluff Dale ISD proposition that affected only 20 Hood County voters got three “against” votes and two “for” votes. The proposition failed overall, a source at the Bluff Dale ISD reported.
gloves off for the runoff?
The runoff election for the unresolved City Council races will be Tuesday, Dec. 10. Voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Annex 1, 1410 W. Pearl St.
Early voting, also at Annex 1, will be as follows: Nov. 25 and 26, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Nov. 27, 8 to 5; and Dec. 2-6, 8 to 5.
The runoff campaigns could become intense now that there are one-on-one face-offs.
Mobly said he believes that Myers’ run for office has more to do with Southern wanting to return to power than with any true interest in serving on the council.
Southern was mayor for 15 years before being defeated by Rickie Pratt. Pratt was incapacitated by a stroke shortly after Christmas last year and was unable to run for a second term.
Mobly said he believes that Southern is attempting to not only re-claim the center seat, but to get similar-minded people elected. Mobly pointed out that Southern and Myers received similar percentages of the total vote count. Southern got 40 percent; Myers, 39 percent.
Mobly, who has pledged to donate all of his $12,000 annual council pay to local charities if elected, said he believes there is a “concerted effort” under way for Southern to regain power and to put like-minded people on the council.
“In my opinion, we have a former mayor who was fortunate enough to be working in a great economy, and he did some great things for the city of Granbury,” Mobly said. “But he lost his focus, he lost an election and then he lost his identity. And, in my opinion, the reason he’s running now is he’s trying to get that back. I don’t think that’s the direction the city needs to go.”
Southern and Myers denied Mobly’s claims about an allegiance.
“That is not true. We have not aligned ourselves with each other,” said Southern. He has campaigned on addressing issues with the lake level and the Brazos River Authority (BRA) legislatively, stopping “micro-management” at City Hall and possibly selling the city’s electric system.
Myers said this about Mobly’s statements: “I know I can do this job and add something positive to this council. I worked very hard to get the votes that I got, and I did not get them from David Southern.”
In regards to Mobly’s claims about similar vote counts, the former mayor noted that the tallies in Precinct 13 indicate otherwise.
His vote count for that box was 72, while Myers’ was 111 – a difference of 39 votes. Mobly received 71.
Myers received the most votes in early voting – 342. Mobly wasn’t far behind; he won 328. Candidates Ken Grey and Tom Baker received 74 and 138, respectively.
Mobly carried boxes 1, 4, 8, 9 and 10. Myers carried 2, 3, 13, 14 and 15. Myers had the most total votes – 550 (39 percent) to Mobly’s 502 (36 percent).
Mobly, who has served on several nonprofit boards and is past president of Rotary, said that he believes that his financial expertise will be of benefit to the city.
Myers said that she developed an interest in the City Council after serving as Hulett’s campaign treasurer when he ran for the Place 4 seat several years ago. She said that she has been attending council meetings regularly for more than two years.
Myers said that she is an “independent thinker” who can work with whoever is elected mayor. She said that she will run a positive campaign.
Mobly said his intent is not to run a negative campaign, but to move the city in a positive direction.
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