Breckenridge Texan

Local races heat up for 2018 county election

Local races heat up for 2018 county election
December 05
16:31 2017

Although the November 2018 election is nearly a year away, several local county races are starting to heat up. Since Nov. 11, the first day residents could sign up to run as a candidate for the 2018 Primary Election on March 6, several candidates have thrown their hats in the ring.

According to Graham Reaugh, Republican County Chairman for Stephens County, as of Monday night, several local residents had already registered to run for county offices on the Republican ticket. On the Democratic side, Stephens County Chairman Tommy Thompson said, as of Monday, there were no candidates signed up for any of the Stephens County Democratic races.

Reaugh said Stephens County Clerk Jackie Ensey, District Clerk Christie Coapland and County Treasurer Sharon Trigg have applied for reelection. Stephens County Justice of the Peace Michael Roach, who announced last month he will not be running for reelection as JP when his term ends in 2018, has filed to run as a Republican for the County Judge position.

Currently, Reaugh said there are three Republican candidates vying to replace Roach as Justice of the Peace: Leslie LeBus Blackerby, Phil Devenport and Steve Spoon.

In addition to the County Judge position up for election in 2018, there will also be two county commissioner’s positions, Precinct 2 and Precinct 4, on the ballot.

In the Precinct 2 County Commissioners race, Reaugh said, Bear Grissom, Mark Campbell and Mark McCullough have signed up to run as Republicans. In the Precinct 4 County Commissioner’s race, he said, Donnie Sechrest, Eric O’Dell and Jim Blancq have registered to run. As of Monday, no incumbents had signed up to run for County Judge or either County Commissioner position.

Ensey said residents interested in signing up to be a candidate on the ballot in the March Primary Election have until Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. to file the paperwork. She said in order to register, they need to name a campaign treasurer, come by her office and fill out an “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer by a Candidate” form and take a copy to either the Democratic or Republican County Chairman, depending on which party’s primary they chose to run in. The Stephens County Democratic Chairman is Tommy Thompson, and the Republican County Chairman is Graham Reaugh.

A filing fee is required when the candidates submits their applications and must be paid to the county party chairman. The amount of the fee depends on the office they are seeking. For Justice of the Peace and constable, the fee is $375, and most of the other county offices are $750.

In lieu paying the fee, a candidate has the option to have a petition signed by 50 registered voters. For county-wide offices, the petition must be signed by registered voters in the county. For positions that represent a certain precinct in the county, like a county commissioner, all the signatures on that petition must be registered voters just from that precinct. Once the petition is turned in, each signature will be verified by county election officials and the county political party chairman.

Stephens County Tax Assessor Christy Latham, who is also the election coordinator for the county, said while the November election may seem like a long way off, the election takes nearly a full year of preparation and things will start happening fast after the Dec. 11 candidate sign up cut off.

“Shortly after that, things start hopping,” she said. “We have to draw for places on the ballot. We have to get ballots ordered, and early voting starts in February. It’s just bam, bam, bam.”

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan


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