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GOP candidates carry Ellis vote

County remains reliably red in Tuesday’s balloting despite Democratic gains statewide

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light

Though the voting was a lot closer in statewide races, Ellis County remained solidly red in Tuesday’s general election, outpacing the rest of Texas with overwhelming support of Republican candidates.

Every GOP nominee in partisan races on the county ballot received roughly 2-to-1 support against Democratic opposition from local voters. President Donald Trump won 66.21 percent of the vote in Ellis County over 32.15 percent for Democratic challenger Joe Biden, while Sen. John Cornyn similarly picked up 67.06 percent to Democrat Mary “MJ” Hegar’s 30.27 percent in winning re-election.

Cornyn won re-election statewide, holding off a strong challenge from Hegar by a 53.60-48.78 margin. Trump carried Texas by a roughly 52-46 margin, a much wider margin than some polls were indicating. Texas has not voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

The same ratio held true down the ballot, as U.S. Rep. Ron Wright won a second term to Congress with a 67.63-percent vote in comparison with 29.22 percent for Democrat Stephen Daniel in the county, although the district as a whole was much tighter, with Wright taking 52.87 percent. GOP nominees for Railroad Commissioner, State Board of Education and various judgeships all carried Ellis County in the 67-to-70-percent range.

State Sen. Brian Birdwell easily won re-election to his District 22 seat with a more than 2-to-1 winning margin over Democrat Robert Vick. Jake Ellzey, the GOP nominee for the open Texas House District 10 seat, had no Democratic opposition and defeated Libertarian Matt Savino with more than 75 percent.

No county-level candidates received opposition in the general election.

A total of 85,810 Ellis County voters cast ballots in the election, for a total turnout of 71.21 percent. Of that total, a record 70,210 voted early in person, while 10,361 voted on the day of the election and 5,239 sent in absentee ballots.

City races

Nonpartisan city and school board elections were moved to November at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of the high interest in the presidential race, voting numbers in these down-ballot races set records.

Fred C. Pontley (Ferris) and Joy Landry (Maypearl) won contested races for mayor in their respective cities, as well as Waxahachie Mayor David Hill, who won with 63.8 percent. Bruce Jones was elected to the Ennis City Council, while Clayton Hunter and Jay Walsh were elected as aldermen in Ferris.

Midlothian councilmember Wayne Sibley was re-elected to his Place 1 seat, while Hud Hartson and Tiffany Robinson Carra will head to a runoff in the special election to fill Place 6 on the council. Hartson received 45.54 percent of the vote, just short of a majority.

Randy Boyd, Luin McConnell and Vincent Fleming were the top three vote-getters in an at-large vote and will take seats on the Italy City Council. Similarly, Mark Partin and John Wayne Pruitt were the top two in the Maypearl City Council voting and will take seats.

Alma voters approved Proposition A by a 136-37 margin to reauthorize a ¼-cent sales tax for street maintenance and repair.

School board races

Elections for local school boards drew numerous candidates across Ellis County as well, with Clay Schoolfield winning another term as a Waxahachie ISD trustee.

Incumbents Tami Tobey and Andrea Walton each won re-election to the Midlothian ISD board of trustees, with Tobey exceeding 60 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff in a three-way race and Walton holding off challenger Taya Kyle by 838 votes.

In Ennis ISD, Kelly McManus won election to Place 1, while Tommy Aguilar and David Mach are headed to a runoff in Place 2. The two contested races in Red Oak ISD are both headed to a runoff between Penny Story and Sean Kelly for the Place 5 seat, and Michelle Porter and Donna Reiszner to complete the unexpired Place 6 term.

In Ferris ISD, Ricardo “Rico” Rodriguez and Lee Longino won close votes in separate races, and Richard Sasser was unopposed to fill an unexpired term. Ferris voters also voted down two propositions that would have issued a combined total of $12 million in bonds for upgrading school facilities.

In Maypearl ISD, Lesley Austin and Ted Carpenter were elected as at-large trustees, winning the top two positions. Similarly, Jeffery Greenlee and incumbent Christen Vick were the top two in Palmer ISD’s election.

Kyle Holley and Tessa C. South were elected to two at-large trustee positions in Italy ISD. In Avalon ISD, David Arriaga, Wendy Rodriguez and Victor Ledesma were elected to at-large seats.