Of the 105,515 registered voters in Ellis County, fewer than 10 percent decided the fate of four critical Republican primary runoff elections Tuesday night.
A total of 11,271 ballots (10.68%) were cast in the Republican and Democratic runoff elections in one of 30 precincts in Ellis County. Roughly 83 percent of those were cast in the Republican races (9,338).
The runoff was needed for several county, state and federal party nominations after candidates in their respective races failed to receive more than 50 percent of votes during the primary election held in March. The winner of the runoff election will represent his or her party in the November general election.
The Democratic primary did not result in any local-only runoffs.
One of the more highly-contested and discussed races was between current Ellis County Judge Carol Bush and challenger, Todd Little for the Republican nomination.
And it was Little who pulled away.
Little received 6,359 votes (68.98%) to handily defeat Bush (2,869, 31.02%).
"I want to thank Judge Bush for her service to our county," Little stated via email shortly after the results went final. "I also want to encourage all Republicans to unite behind our campaign so we can win in November and keep Texas red."
He will now face Democratic candidate JR Phillips — who received 3,552 votes during the Democratic primary — in the November general election.
Bush issued her concession statement just before the final precincts reported Tuesday night.
She thanked family, friends and supporters who stood by her side during the "rigorous campaigns" over her nine-year tenure as the county judge.
"That confidence has been humbling and so appreciated over the years," Bush stated.
She added, “It has been my distinct privilege to serve as your County Judge for the last 9 years. In that time, Ellis County has grown and prospered; and, I am honored to have worked with many men and women who have contributed to that success. I am proud of the many things that we have been able to accomplish. My goal has always been to place principles over politics as I sought to make the best decisions possible for our community as a whole. And, I firmly believe that our County is stronger because of it.
Bush also congratulated Little on his victory and wish him "success as he embarks on the important journey to meet the unique challenges facing Ellis County and to make our community a better place.”
Just before the runoff elections began, Little stood outside of the historic front doors of the Ellis County Courthouse and made several promises to voters.
Little vowed to return a $70,135 raise awarded to Bush in 2016 by a nine-person salary grievance committee comprised of citizens in the grand jury pool. He also promised to open the front doors of the Ellis County Courthouse to citizens and push the start time of the Ellis County Commissioners back to allow for more citizens to attend.
Bush's salary was budgeted for $94,835 before the decision of the salary grievance committee in 2016.
In the primary election, Bush received 6,600 votes (42.88%), while Little, a former Red Oak mayor, received 4,951 votes (32.17%) to edge Rodney Ramsey 3,839 votes (24.94%).
ADDITIONAL COUNTY RACES
William D. Wallace pulled away to earn the seat as the next judge of the 378th Judicial District Court of Ellis County.
Wallace netted 61.65 percent (5,373 votes) of the ballots cast in a Republican runoff against Shani Flemins (3,342 votes, 38.35%).
“I am grateful to the voters of Ellis County for their confidence and the public trust of the 378th District bench,” said Wallace on election night.
The race for the judge's bench began with Wallace and Flemins besting Stacy Auvenshine and Ed Jendrzey in the primary election, but neither reached the 50-percent plateau.
Wallace (5,734 votes, 41.51 percent) did pull the majority of the votes in the primary, as Flemins received roughly 23 percent (3,144 votes).
There is no Democratic opponent in the race for the seat.
In the race for the Republican nomination for county clerk, Krystal Valdez received 67.73 percent of the Republican vote (67.73%) to easily defeat Jessica Irwin (2,857, 32.27%).
Valdez said she is "completely humbled" by the support she received during the election and thanked all of those Ellis County citizens who voted for her.
"A very special thanks to my family, friends and the many volunteers who have so generously supported me," Valdez added. "It has truly been a team effort, and I could not have done this without the help of so many wonderful people. We must keep the momentum going as it is vitally important that we all unite as Republicans and return to the polls in November with our friends and families to vote Krystal Valdez for Ellis County Clerk."
Valdez initially received 6,101 votes (44.24%) in the Republican primary, while Irwin netted 5,091 votes (36.92%).
Denise DeLara (2,599, 18.85%) was the third candidate in the race and did not receive enough votes in the initial primary election to make the runoff.
Valdez faces Vicki Alcala Spaniel in November. Spaniel received 3,634 votes in the Democratic primary.
The final Republican runoff occurred in just eight of the 30 Ellis County precincts and saw Chris Macon (1,541 votes, 58.46%) edge Randy Owen (1,095, 41.54%) for a shot at Ellis County Justice of Peace Pct. 1.
The two defeated Joyce Lindauer (682, 17.77%), Cynthia Billingsley (352, 9.17%) and Tommy Aguilar (240, 6.25%) in the March primary.
Macon now faces Monica Mosley Spencer, who received 798 votes in the Democratic primary, in the November general election.
This article has been updated throughout with comments from Carol Bush, Todd Little, William D. Wallace and Krystal Valdez.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith