By Bill Spinks
Delayed but not canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the runoff election from the March 3 Texas Republican and Democratic party primaries will finally take place on Tuesday at polling locations throughout Ellis County.
The original runoff date had been set for May 26, but was pushed back in response to the initial wave of the pandemic.
In the meantime, the virus ebbed throughout May in Texas but surged in June in the wake of the state’s stages of reopening, which had to be partially rolled back. Nevertheless, the Ellis County Elections Office has pledged safe polling locations for Tuesday’s vote, with social distancing measures and masking requirements in place.
The only local runoff is on the Republican ballot, where Chuck Edge, the incumbent Ellis County Sheriff, will face challenger Brad Norman. Neither candidate obtained a majority in the March primary.
Norman received 9,595 votes or 44.19 percent, while Edge hung onto 7,308 votes or 33.66 percent in the March balloting. Challenger Charlie Daniels finished with 4,809 votes or 22.15 percent, which was enough to force a runoff.
"If you didn’t make out to vote yesterday, you still have the opportunity to vote for Brad Norman for sheriff of Ellis County in the run-off election," a post on Norman’s Facebook campaign page encouraged following the March primary. "One more push for our goal!"
Edge, on the other hand, expressed disappointment.
"Well, not the result we were looking for, but one that we felt was a distinct possibility," the incumbent posted. "I thank everyone that voted for me and supported throughout this process thus far, but this election is not over folks! … I need everyone to go back to the voting booth during the run-off election and vote again. You will see us back out there working to earn your support and your vote!"
Edge, the former Waxahachie chief of police from 2007-2014, was appointed to the sheriff’s post in 2017 to finish the term of Johnny Brown, who resigned.
Norman had previously said he was running "to lead the Sheriff’s Office through the changes and past the challenges that accompany the new growth in Ellis County."
Edge positioned himself as the man for the job.
"We have accomplished a great deal since taking office in April of 2017 and would like to see many of the projects/programs that are underway through to completion," Edge said. "I feel that I am the best qualified to see the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office through this time of rapid growth."
Meanwhile, two statewide races are on the Democratic ballot. In the runoff for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator, state Sen. Royce West is facing Air Force veteran Mary "MJ" Hegar. In the runoff for the party nomination for Railroad Commissioner, Chrysta Castaneda will face Roberto R. "Beto" Alonzo.
Polling locations for Tuesday’s vote are available on the Ellis County Elections website at www.co.ellis.tx.us/elections. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.