Ellis County election results: Hill, Wright win Waxahachie council races

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light

One incumbent will return to the Waxahachie City Council while another was unseated and a third race is yet to be determined.

Saturday, incumbent David Hill defeated challenger Darrin Robinson in the race for Place 1 on the City Council by securing 76 percent of the votes. Hill received 1,797 votes to Robinson’s 567.

In Place 3, challenger Chris Wright defeated incumbent Melissa Olson with 56 percent of the votes. He received 1,381 votes to Olson’s 1,085 votes. Wright jumped out to an early lead by receiving 845 votes to Olson’s 569 votes through early voting totals. Olson was seeking her third term.

In Place 2 incumbent Doug Barnes, who serves as mayor, received 42.2 percent (1,017 votes) to lead Patrick Souter (30.1 percent, 724 votes) and Johnny Bryant (27.7 percent, 668 votes). But since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the votes there will be a runoff election between Barnes and Souter.

Barnes said he believes his experience in the city helped him garner enough votes for a runoff.

“I think it was the experience they saw in my 18 years as part of the Economic Development Department and my involvement in the city during that period of time,” Barnes said. “As part of economic development we had two goals – make Waxahachie a better place to live and make Waxahachie a better place to work. And on council those are the same goals. Quality of life in the city is extremely important.”

Souter said he believes his pragmatic approach when looking at issues in the city led to residents voting for him.

He also said it helped that he was constantly at the polls meeting people during early voting and on Election Day.

“A lot of folks said they admire me being out there,” Souter said. “They said it shows my commitment to the city.”

The runoff election date has not been determined. But Barnes said his experience will serve him well during the runoff.

“The difference will be our experience in the day to day over the last 18 years,” Barnes said. “I feel like that experience is very important to the citizens. That’s the main difference between myself and Mr. Souter. That’s why I got the support that I did Saturday night.”

Souter said when it comes down to the runoff voters will have two ways of looking at things.

“It’s the way historically things have been done that Mr. Barnes presents versus someone with new ideas and new solutions,” Souter said. “How we handle the infrastructure, current development and property rights. That’s what people are talking about.”

He added that people are concerned about development decisions the council has made in the last year.

Souter said he brings a legal perspective into several of the city’s issues.

Wright said he believes voters were swayed in his direction partly because of his commitment to get things done.

“I hope they see that that I follow through after the fact,” Wright said.

Wright stated on social media he did not enter the race to unseat Olson, who had previously announced she was not running for reelection. He thanked Olson for a clean campaign.

During a special called meeting Monday, Olson thanked the city staff for their assistance over the last four years and the residents who supported her.

“It’s been an incredible journey full of ups and downs,” Olson said. “It’s changed me as a person to make me more resilient, and I’m beyond grateful for the chance to serve Waxahachie as a council member.”

She encouraged residents to reach out to her even after she’s off the council.

“I’m still a neighbor and still care about this community,” Olson said.

City staff members and some of the council members praised Olson for her work.

“You’ve been an admirable council member and well-prepared when you come to the council meetings,” Barnes said. “You’re truly concerned about the citizens, you have been an asset to this council, and I would suggest you will be truly missed.”

Hill thanked his wife and those who helped in his campaign.

"First and foremost, I would like to thank my wife, Mickie, for her steadfast love and support," Hill said. "Without her understanding, sacrifice, and patience, I would not be able to continue serving the city of Waxahachie.

"Grassroots campaigns are costly and require many man hours to execute and administer all that is necessary to ensure a successful result. With that said, I would like to thank the many that contributed financially as well as those who showed their support with signs in their yards, letters to the editors, and importantly their votes."

He said in the next few weeks he hopes he and the rest of the council can continue conversations about the budget, infrastructure, taxes and other issues facing the city.

Hill and Wright are expected to be sworn in at Monday’s council meeting.

Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees

On the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees incumbents Dusty Autrey and Debbie Timmermann retained their seats.

In Place 6 Autrey received 70.5 percent of the votes (2,360 votes) to Amy Hedtke’s 29.5 percent (987 votes).

In Place 7, Timmermann secured 56.4 percent (1,950 votes) to Ryan Pitts’ 43.6 percent (1,508 votes). Both winners took large leads through early voting with 1,351 and 1,130 votes, respectively.

Red Oak ISD bond rejected

Voters rejected a $230.1 million bond proposal for Red Oak ISD.

Proposition A, which totaled $156.8 million, failed with 53.7 percent of the voters (1,784 votes) against it and 1,534 voting in favor.

Proposition A called for constructing and upgrading school buildings. The most expensive item on the list is a new $85 million middle school on the west side of the city. Other items include additions at Wooden and Eastridge elementary schools, a new career and technology building and more.

Proposition B, which had a price tag of $45 million, was rejected with 60.5 percent of the voters voting against it (2,006 votes) to 1,311 voting in favor.

Proposition B called for improvements to Goodloe Stadium, including new locker rooms, restrooms, concessions, press box, new visitors side seating, more seating on the home side, additional parking, added circulation roads, new visitors bus and officials parking area and a new scoreboard.

Proposition C ($9.3 million) failed with 60.5 percent voting against it (2,006) and 39.5 percent (1,310) voting for it. The proposition would fund a new JV track/turf field at the high school to reduce transit to Goodloe for practices and to help with scheduling issues. It also includes upgrades to the 12-year-old tennis courts and year-round turf for baseball and softball.

Proposition D ($19 million) failed with 58.3 percent (1,937) voting against it and 41.7 percent (1,385) voting for it. Proposition D would have funded a new transportation facility. District officials said the facility and the parking area is inadequate and have flooding issues.

Ferris ISD bond

All three proposals for the $79 million bond in Ferris ISD failed.

Proposition A, which 388 votes to 335 votes, called for $53 million and will include a new elementary school, a career and technology education (CTE) facility at Ferris High School, district-wide safety and security improvements, HVAC upgrades across the district and improvements to Lee Longino Elementary and Ferris Junior High School.

Proposition B, which failed 438 votes to 282 votes, called for $12 million and includes a community performing arts center at Ferris High School. The facility would feature an 800-seat auditorium and a UIL stage with full lights and sound.

Proposition C failed 464 votes to 253 votes. It called for $14 million and includes an indoor multiuse facility, baseball and softball turf and a baseball and softball fieldhouse with concession and restrooms.

Red Oak City Council

Jeffrey Smith beat incumbent Michael Braly for Place 5 on the Red Oak City Council. Smith received 52.9 percent of the votes (529 votes) to Braly’s 47.2 percent (472 votes).

Maypearl City Council

Robert Laake (41.6 percent, 42 votes) and Mark Partin (36.6 percent, 37 votes) took the two seats up for election on the Maypearl City Council. John Wayne Pruitt received 21.8 percent (22 votes).

Milford mayor

Bruce Perryman received 76.4 percent of the votes (120) to Scott Otto’s 23.6 percent (37 votes) in the race for Milford mayor.

Oak Leaf City Council

Michelle Hillery grabbed 87 percent of the votes (195 votes) to Lukeman Elchehimi’s 13 percent (29 votes) in the race for Place 4 on the Oak Leaf City Council.

Ovilla City Council

Kimberly Case defeated Brandon Collett by receiving 57.1 percent (362 votes) over Brandon Collett in the race for Ovilla City Council, Place 1.

In Place 5 Brad Piland (43.7 percent, 251 votes) finished ahead of Michael Myers (41 percent, 236 votes) and Sierra Killpack (15.3 percent, 88 votes).

Palmer City Council

James Smith (31.2 percent, 116 votes), Doug Young (30.7 percent, 114 votes) and Jorge Sotelo (23.1 percent, 86 votes) were elected to the Palmer City Council. Michael Heard received 15.1 percent (56 votes).

Italy City Council

Luin McConnell, Robert Hodge, Jr. and William Panther won seats on the Italy City Council with 24.2 percent, 24.2 percent and 22.8 percent of the votes, respectively. Also running for three seats were Quentin Little (17 percent) and David Barrington (11.8 percent).

In the unexpired term seat Brooke Boyd edged out Troy Kowalsky 66 votes to 64.

Milford ISD Board of Trustees

Ronny Crumpton (32.3 percent, 90 votes) and Kimberly Kaye Cook (25.8 percent, 72 votes) won spots on the Milford ISD Board of Trustees. They defeated Louis Essary (22.9 percent, 64 votes), DeAnn Harvey (11.1 percent, 31 votes) and Christopher Serrata (7.9 percent, 22 votes).

Palmer ISD Board of Trustees

Jeremy Robinson (44.9 percent, 297 votes) and Gary Barnes (29.8 percent, 197 votes) were elected to the Palmer ISD Board of Trustees. Matt Cearnal finished with 25.3 percent, 167 votes.

City of Bardwell Proposition A

Proposition A, which would allow the city of Bardwell to sell all alcoholic beverages, passed 63.6 percent (21 votes) to 36.4 percent (12 votes).

City of Oak Leaf Proposition A

Proposition A, which will reauthorize the local sales and use tax of one-fourth of 1 percent to be used for repair and maintenance of the city’s streets., passed with 64.6 percent (184 votes) to 35.4 percent (101 votes).