Winners talk future: Bates, Collins march to victories with no opponents for November

Published 12:14 am Thursday, March 5, 2020

Now that Christopher Bates is headed toward a third term as Jefferson County Precinct 2 constable, the Port Arthur native looks forward to educating the public on what a constable does.

“It’s very different in a sense, compared to other law enforcement agencies,” he said. “I want to make sure the people know what the constable does, their role, their responsibilities in Jefferson County because it’s different in every county. There are 254 counties in the state of Texas, and every one is different as far as how the constable serves.”

Constables serve civil and criminal papers and act as bailiffs in justice court, among other duties.

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Barring a challenge from an independent or write-in candidate, Bates, 34, has earned another four-year term as Precinct 2 constable following Tuesday’s primary election.

Bates received 1,989 votes, or 68.13 percent, to Port Arthur Police Officer Terry Tran’s 928 (31.87 percent).

“I appreciate my opponent, Mr. Tran, and the challenge we ran up against in the race,” he said. “I do want to make sure we continue working together. If it’s really about change for the community, then I look forward to reaching out and working together.”

Tran could not be reached as of early Wednesday afternoon for comment.

Bates plans to continue charity work such as his scholarship program, toy drive and junior deputy camp, as well as remain proactive in the communities he serves as constable.

“It’s been a blessing to me,” he said of serving. “It’s definitely been an honor to hold the position and being able to serve in the capacity that I have. I don’t take it lightly. I don’t take it for granted. Everything I do, I do it for our community and I do it with the Lord leading my every step so I can make the best and right decisions moving forward. I’m definitely appreciative of it.”

Collins to remain in Precinct 8 role

Precinct 8 Constable Eddie Collins, 68, who has held the role since 1990, had 1,002 votes to Gene Winston’s 763, a margin of 56.77 to 43.23 percent. Winston is Bates’ deputy chief and served under Collins for 10 years prior to joining Bates’ office seven years ago.

Collins is the first black constable in Jefferson County.

“I want to thank everybody that voted for me, everyone in my precinct and I want to thank my family for sticking with me,” Collins said. “I had God in my life.”

Collins will begin a new term after dealing with personal tragedy in recent years. He suffered two major strokes three years ago, following the passing of his father and brother.

“That kept the blood pressure up,” he said.

Collins added his goal is to keep doing what he has, which is being on the job and treating others right.

Winston congratulated Collins on his victory and said he will go back to working in the community.

“I said from the very beginning that Mr. Collins taught me,” he said. “He gave me my start. He showed me how to do civil process, and we stayed friends through all of this. All I wanted to do was be an extension of what Mr. Collins has always done.”

Bates and Collins are expected to be sworn in January 2021.

Cooper wins Precinct 70 chair

Anthony Cooper won the race for Jefferson County Precinct 70 chair with 190 votes to David E. Ball’s 96 (66.43 to 33.57 percent).

This will be Cooper’s first time to serve as precinct chair. He ran after being asked by Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie about it.

Cooper looks forward to educating the public about his role.

“It doesn’t get that much recognition because it’s not a well-known position for a lot of people,” he said. “The precinct chair acknowledges the process of voting and registers people to vote, but also is there to inform the people of the political arena, not necessarily to persuade any particular vote. We continue to fight for these rights. Not only that, but to encourage the young folks and educate them on the importance of voting.”

Tuesday’s primary elections did not see a strong turnout among registered voters in Jefferson County. Of 146,703 registered, just 35,239 ballots, or 24.03 percent, were cast.

Cooper said any candidate for public office should get to know his or her precinct chair.

New party chair

The Democratic Party will see a new chair in Jefferson County as Joseph Trahan won with 9,061 votes, or 50.71 percent. Fellow Beaumont resident Ava Graves, who stepped into the role vacated by Cade Bernsen in September, received 6,583 votes (36.84 percent), while Port Arthur native Paul Martin earned 2,225 votes (12.45 percent).

Graves was the first African American and the second woman to serve as party chair.

Jefferson County Primary Election Results

 Democratic Party

  • President: Joseph R. Biden 9,768, Bernie Sanders 3,974, Michael Bloomberg 3,777, Elizabeth Warren 1,077, Pete Buttigieg 473, Amy Klobuchar 248, Michael Bennet 241, Cory Booker 155, Tom Steyer 101, Andrew Yang 96, Tulsi Gabbard 55, Julian Castro 46, Marianne Williamson 45, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente 39, John K. Delaney 28, Robby Wells 28, Deval Patrick 16
  • U.S. Senator: Royce West 4,357, Michael Cooper 4,219, Chris Bell 2,555, Amanda K. Edwards 1,362, Mary “M.J.” Hegar 1,271, Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez 1,033, Annie “Mama” Garcia 934, Jack Daniel Foster Jr. 786, Sema Hernandez 585, Victor Hugo Harris 394, Adrian Ocegueda 311, D.R. Hunter 177
  • U.S. Representative, District 14: Adrienne Bell 10,197, Eddie Fisher 2,480, Mikal Williams 2,072, Sanjanetta Barnes 1,779, Robert “Puga” Thomas 1,057
  • Texas Railroad Commissioner: Mark Watson 4,813, Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo 4,640, Kelly Stone 3,704, Chrysta Castañeda 3,132
  • Texas Chief Justice Supreme Court: Amy Clark Meachum 11,408, Jerry Zimmerer 4,825
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 6, unexpired term: Kathy Cheng 10,148, Larry Praeger 5,898
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 7: Staci Williams 12,213, Brandy Voss 4,094
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 8: Gisela D. Triana 9,968, Peter Kelly 6,114
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 3: Elizabeth Davis Frizell 9,115, Dan Wood 3,951, William Pieratt Demond 2,794
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 4: Tina Clinton 11,611, Steven Miears 4,138
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 9: Brandon Birmingham 14,277
  • Texas State Senator, District 4: Jay Stittleburg 13,957
  • Texas State Representative, District 22: Joe Deshotel 14,082
  • Jefferson County District Judge, 60th Judicial District: Justin Gary Sanderson 14,986
  • Jefferson County District Judge, 136th Judicial District: Baylor Wortham 15,385
  • Jefferson County Sheriff: Zena Stephens, 18,056
  • Jefferson County Commissioner, Precinct 3: Michael Shane Sinegal, 4,266
  • Jefferson County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 1: Naomi Showers Doyle 3,415, George Milhouse 2,562, Cathy Bennett Dollinger 1,742
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 1: Jevonne “J.C.” Pollard 3,941, Donald Jackson 3,523
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 2: Christopher L. Bates 1,989, Terry Tran 928
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 6: Joe “QB” Stevenson 2,087, Dana (Big) Baker 1,533
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 8: Eddie Collins 1,002, Gene Winston 763
  • Jefferson County Chair: Joseph Paul Trahan 9,061, Ava Y. Graves 6,583, Paul M. Martin 2,225
  • Jefferson County Precinct 70 Chair: Anthony Cooper 190, David Ball 96
  • Proposition 1 (Right to healthcare): Yes 18,240, No 1,023
  • Proposition 2 (Right to a 21st-century education): Yes 18,372, No 874
  • Proposition 3 (Right to clean air, safe water and a responsible climate policy): Yes 18,749, No 513
  • Proposition 4 (Right to economic security): Yes 18,377, No 809
  • Proposition 5 (Right to dignity and respect): Yes 18,412, No 736
  • Proposition 6 (Right to be free from violence): Yes 18,646, No 577
  • Proposition 7 (Right to housing): Yes 18,050, No 1,037
  • Proposition 8 (Right to vote): Yes 18,294, No 846
  • Proposition 9 (Right to a fair criminal justice system): Yes 18,514, No 596
  • Proposition 10 (Immigrant rights): Yes 17,812, No 1,194
  • Proposition 11 (Right to fair taxation): Yes 17,436, No 1,525

Republican Party

  • President: Donald J. Trump 13,913, uncommitted 238, Joe Walsh 59, Matthew John Matern 51, Bill Weld 48, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente Guerra 30, Bob Ely 8, Zoltan G. Istvan 4
  • U.S. Senator: John Cornyn 11,064, Dwayne Stovall 1,335, Mark Yancey 685, John Anthony Castro 333, Virgil Bierschwale 119
  • U.S. Representative, District 14: Randy Weber 12,004, Joshua Foxworth 1,597
  • Texas Railroad Commissioner: James “Jim” Wright 8,472, Ryan Sitton 3,898
  • Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice: Nathan Hecht 11,547
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 6, unexpired term: Jane Bland 11,431
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 7: Jeff Boyd, 11,497
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 8: Brett Busby, 11,413
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 3: Bert Richardson 7,402, Gina Parker 4,525
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 4: Kevin Patrick Yeary 11,383
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 9: David Newell 11,386
  • Texas State Senator, District 4: Brandon Creighton 11,737
  • Texas State Representative, District 21: Dade Phelan 7,836
  • Texas State Representative, District 22: Jacorion Randle 4,105
  • Texas 9th Court of Appeals Chief Justice: Colleen Cordts Rice 2,553, Chuck “Charles B” Meyer 2,420, Scott Golemon 2,299, Jay Wright 2,239, Jarrod Lee Walker 2,066
  • Jefferson County Sheriff: David Odom 11,770, Emil Serda 1,124
  • Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector: Allison Nathan Getz 12,325
  • Jefferson County Commissioner, Precinct 1: Vernon Pierce 4,128
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 1: Mark Mann, 3,976
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 4: Bryan Werner 1,620
  • Jefferson County Constable, Precinct 7: Robert “Bobby” Adams Jr. 4,974
  • Jefferson County Chair: Judy Nichols 11,541
  • Proposition 1 (No restriction or prohibition of prayer in public schools): Yes 12,881, No 1,267
  • Proposition 2 (Reject restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms): Yes 12,842, No 1,639
  • Proposition 3 (Ban practice of taxpayer-funded lobbying): Yes 13,261, No 711
  • Proposition 4 (Support construction of physical barrier and use defense-grade surveillance equipment along entire southern border of Texas): Yes 13,569, No 487
  • Proposition 5 (Parents, legal guardians of public school children under 18 are sole decision makers for healthcare): Yes 12,853, No 1,090
  • Proposition 6 (Ban chemical castration, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and genital mutilation surgery on all minor children): Yes 13,343, No 619
  • Proposition 7 (Protect and preserve historical property): Yes 13,923, No 149
  • Proposition 8 (Purge illegal voters from voter rolls): Yes 13,922, No 121
  • Proposition 9 (Bail based only on person’s danger to society and risk of flight): Yes 13,456, No 562
  • Proposition 10 (Limit state legislators’ terms to 12 years): Yes 12,855, No 1,066


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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