Diaz wins constable primary runoff election
The May 24 primary runoff election results have been tallied, with few surprises.
In the race for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Precinct 2 constable, incumbent Chris Diaz handily defeated challenger George Goffney Jr.
Diaz received 73 percent of the vote (2,321 total votes) to Goffney’s 27 percent (859 votes).
Diaz will face Republican Daniel Vela in the November general election.
In the contest for the Democratic nomination for Harris County sheriff, Ed Gonzales easily defeated Jerome Moore.
Gonzales received 57 percent of the vote (16,049 total votes) to Moore’s 43 percent (12,311 votes).
Gonzales will face Republican incumbent Ron Hickman in the November general election.
In the Democratic race for railroad commissioner, Grady Yarbrough handily defeated Cody Garrett.
Yarbrough received 60 percent of the vote (15,816 total votes) to Garrett’s 40 percent (10,411 votes).
In the Republican contest for railroad commissioner, Gary Gates easily defeated Wayne Christian.
Gates received 66 percent of the vote (24,537 total votes) to Christian’s 34 percent (12,890 votes).
In the race for the position of Harris County Republican Party chairman, incumbent Paul Simpson handily defeated challenger Rick Ramos.
Simpson received 69 percent of the vote (26,015 total votes) to Ramos’ 31 percent (11,753 votes).
The general election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 8, along with the highly publicized U.S. presidential election.
The race to replace the late El Franco Lee as Harris County Precinct 1 commissioner is starting to heat up, with a candidate forum being held this past Sunday, May 22.
Lee died unexpectedly Jan. 3 after serving more than 30 years in the office. Following Lee’s death, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett appointed former Houston city attorney and longtime friend of the commissioner, Gene Locke, to fill the remainder of Lee’s term.
While it was initially believed that Locke had no interest in keeping the position permanently, he is now actively seeking it, reportedly even stepping down from his law practice to pursue it.
Other interested parties include state Sen. Rodney Ellis, City Council Member Dwight Boykins, community activist Georgia Provost, KPFT chairman DeWayne Lark and educator Rickey Tezino.
Although they did not participate in Sunday’s forum, City Council members Jerry Davis and Larry Green have also expressed interest in the position, but like Boykins, have shied away from formally announcing their candidacies, due to the state’s “resign-to-run” provision, which could cost them their current seats, should they lose their bid for the commissioner position.
Lee’s name remained on the primary ballot, which he won posthumously, as he ran unopposed. It is now up to 125 Democratic precinct chairs to select a candidate to appear on the November ballot, as a special election will not be held to fill the position in the highly Democratic precinct.
The highly sought-after commissioner’s seat comes with a base salary of nearly $170,000 a year, and the position is not term limited. Once in office, commissioners rarely face serious challengers or step down from the esteemed position, which represents 1.2 million people and oversees a $200 million annual budget.
Locke and Ellis focused on their political experience, while Provost, Lark and Tezino emphasized their outsider status and vowed to fight the establishment.
While Boykins has yet to officially throw his hat in the ring, the council member – who represents much of the South Belt community – stressed his record of helping the disenfranchised and area seniors.
Locke, who described himself as a workhorse not a show-horse, began his introduction with a moment of silence in honor of Lee. He went on to tout recent roadwork and sidewalk projects near NRG Stadium in advance of the 2017 Super Bowl (a joint effort with the City of Houston) and stressed the need to make voting easier for county residents.
Ellis suggested using county land for affordable housing and providing adequate mental health care for county jail inmates.
Boykins, who described himself as a public servant rather than a politician, discussed his recent second-chance job forum aimed at helping ex-convicts get jobs and the need to provide sufficient funding for local constable offices.
Lark stressed that he was “unbought and unsold” and said Ellis should remain a senator and Boykins remain a council member, where they get other meaningful work achieved.
Provost, who has unsuccessfully run for City Council multiple times, emphasized how Precinct 1 has disproportionately less services than the other precincts in the county.
Tezino rounded out the forum by discussing the need for flooding improvements and a possible monorail system.
The race for the commissioner’s seat is unorthodox, as there is no official filing or deadlines, making it difficult to determine exactly how many people are actually seeking the position. While candidates are actively campaigning for the seat, they are focusing their efforts on trying to win over the precinct chairs, rather than county voters, who will not have a direct say on the issue.
The vote to select the new commissioner will take place Saturday, June 25. Participating precinct chairs must be present to cast a ballot. Should a single candidate not receive 50 percent or more of the vote, a runoff will take place on the spot.
See future editions of the Leader for a candidate questionnaire.
While residents will not be allowed to directly vote, they are encouraged to voice their opinions to their local precinct chairs. An updated list of area precinct chairs will be released Monday, June 13.
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