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Randy Sonnier Jr. reflects on election victory, Nederland plans

NEDERLAND — Randy Sonnier Jr. had a goal to walk 100 percent of the city with 5,000 door hangers to use, which he found out wasn’t enough.

Randy Sonnier

“We covered 85 percent, and the people we ran into and talked to kind of appreciated that grassroots approach of getting out in the city and walking,” Sonnier told Port Arthur Newsmedia following his Election Day victory in the race to fill the unexpired Ward 3 term on the Nederland City Council.

Sonnier topped fellow challenger Kevin Smith in total votes, according to numbers released by the City of Nederland, with 364 votes compared to 296 for Smith.

There are 11,940 registered voters in Nederland, and all were eligible to vote in this election because city council voting is done on a citywide basis.

The race was especially tight heading into Election Day as Sonnier held only a 7-vote advantage (229 to 222) before pulling away Saturday with 135 additional votes compared to Smith’s 74.

“I looked at the people coming out Saturday and I felt good,” Sonnier said. “I wasn’t overconfident at all. It was a lot of people making phone calls, a lot of people we have been in contact with and people I didn’t know before this election that we met out walking the streets. I think that was really key to it.”

Smith said the cards didn’t fall his way Saturday, adding the tally finished close enough that he was satisfied with the results.

“I wish it would have been the other way, but it was a good, close and clean race,” Smith said. “Randy and I got along really good. Our families got along pretty good. Grandkids played together. There was no, to my knowledge, talk behind each other’s backs. It was real well done.”

Sonnier said his team really hit the phones hard the last couple of days and he thinks people saw their information about getting out in the city.

The Nederland City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Aug. 2 to canvass the election results and swear-in Sonnier.

The councilman-elect spoke with City Manager Chris Duque following the election and has already begun receiving budget and presentation information.

“I’m looking forward to seeing those numbers (budget numbers) because I have not seen them; just the city council has,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see where the money goes and how they budget it. I think we will see some revenue that we didn’t know about due to Jefferson County and State of Texas appraisal districts going up. It will be interesting to see where (the council looks) to put those funds.”

The Ward 3 seat is open following the early resignation of Emmett Hollier, who has maintained his seat until voters selected his replacement.