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November races taking shape for Port Arthur, Mid County

Three races local to Jefferson County are set for the Nov. 3 general election.

Republican voters identified Marine veteran and retired Nederland Police Sgt. David Odom as their challenger to Democratic incumbent Zena Stephens.

Odom handily won his primary race over Emil Serda, garnering 91.28 percent of the votes to Serda’s 8.72 percent (11,770-1,124).

Stephens, who is finishing her first term as Texas’ first female and first African American sheriff, was unopposed in her primary.

Democrat Joe Deshotel and Republican Jacorion Randle did not face any opposition, either, in the District 22 State Representative primary, and are set to square off Nov. 3. Deshotel, 68, has served in the Texas House since 1999. Randle, 21, of Beaumont, studies economics and finance at Lamar University.

Only one of the Jefferson County constable races in this year’s election will come down to a November race. Incumbent Jevonne “J.C.” Pollard won a close Precinct 1 Democratic contest over Donald Jackson by 418 votes.

Pollard tallied 3,941 votes, or 52.8 percent, to Jackson’s 3,523, or 47.2 percent. She’ll take on Mark Mann, who was unopposed on the Republican ticket.

The Democratic ballot included three races that determined constables for 2021, barring any unforeseen challenges. Christopher Bates in Precinct 2 and Eddie Collins in Precinct 8 kept their seats, while Joe “QB” Stevenson beat incumbent Dana “Big” Baker in Precinct 6 with 57.65% of the vote (2,087-1,533).

Runoffs

Three races on Jefferson County ballots will require a runoff, which is scheduled for May 26.

Chrysta Castañeda and Beto Alonzo will face off in the Democratic state railroad commissioner race for the right to take on Republican Jim Wright in November. Castañeda had 589,592 votes, or 33.86 percent, with Alonzo following up with 499,368, or 28.68 percent. Kelly Stone was third with 377,309 (21.67 percent) and Mark Watson was fourth with 274,781 (15.78 percent).

Wright beat Ryan Sitton 1,015,379-794,583 (56.1 to 43.9 percent), with one county left to report results.

The Jefferson County Precinct 1 Place 1 Justice of the Peace race is an all-Democratic affair. Naomi Showers Doyle took 44.24% of the votes, or 3,415, and will run off against George Milhouse, who collected 33.19% (2,562). Cathy Bennett Dollinger was eliminated with 22.57% (1,742).

The winner of the 9th Court of Appeals Chief Justice race will not see a Democratic opponent. Scott Golemon (28,469, or 25.1 percent) and Jay Wright (28,455, or 25.09 percent) advanced to May’s runoff, while Chuck Meyer (22,264, or 19.63 percent), Colleen Cordts Rice (18,638, or 16.4 percent) and Jarrod Lee Walker (15,607, or 13.76 percent) rounded out the Republican battle.

Unchallenged

Four Jefferson County officials were unopposed and are not expected face a challenge in November.

Michael “Shane” Sinegal is looking forward to another term as Precinct 3 county commissioner, Judy Nichols will keep her county Republican Party chair position, and Bryan Werner (Precinct 4) and Robert Adams Jr. (Precinct 7) will remain constables. Also impacting the county, Baylor Wortham will remain 136th District Judge, and Dade Phelan will continue to represent District 21 in the Texas House of Representatives.

Election numbers

Only 24.03 percent of registered voters in Jefferson County took part in the primaries. That’s 35,239 cast out of 146,703 who were registered.

In the Democratic Primary, 11,398 voted early in the county, of which 1,424 ballots were sent by mail. In the Republican Primary, 7,767 voted early in Jefferson, with 113 mail ballots returned.

Up next

Runoffs are scheduled for May 26, with early voting from May 18-22.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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