Primary elections lead to one runoff
Falls County voters will get a second dip into primary election balloting later this spring after none of the three candidates for the county treasurer's position was able to secure a majority on March 6.
Cheryl Pringle and Kristy Pruitt were challenging Ernestine “Molly” Downes, the incumbent treasurer, in the Republican primary.
A total of 1,579 voters participated in that race.
Pringle took 44.6 percent of the vote with 704 total. She received 298 votes in early voting and 408 on election day. That was enough for a plurality but not enough for an outright majority.
Pruitt was second, with 487 total votes for 30.8 percent. She got 177 in early voting and 310 on election day.
Downes finished third with 388 votes for 24.6 percent. She took 198 in early voting and 190 on election day.
Pringle and Pruitt will have their runoff on May 22. By state law, early voting for that will be May 14-18.
In the county's second contested primary, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Commissioner Nita Wuebker was challenged by Lester Whitt. Wuebker won the race by a 251-218 margin, or 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent. Wuebker had 77 votes in early voting and 174 on election day; Whitt had 67 early votes and 151 on March 6.
One other Republican primary race was contested.
This was for the 82nd Judicial District. Current judge Robert Stem is retiring at the end of his term. The seat covers both Falls and Robertson counties.
In Falls County, Bryan Russ got 974 votes to 761 for Matthew Wright. The 1,735 total votes made it the hottest race in the county. Russ got 56.1 percent of the vote with 430 in early voting and 544 on election day versus 304 and 457 for Wright.
Russ secured the win with an even bigger margin of victory in Robinson County. The split there was nearly two-to-one, with 1,803 votes for Russ versus 841 for Wright.
Democrats had no candidates in any of the three elections.
So, barring an independent candidacy in the general election, Wuebker will return to office and Russ will replace Stem.
In other local races, incumbents County Judge Jay Elliott, District Clerk Christy Wideman, County Clerk Linda Watkins, County Tax Assessor-Collector Kayci Nehring, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jack Smith and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Sharon Maxey were unopposed in the Republican primaries and also had no Democrats file in their races.
Precinct 2 County Commissioner F.A. Green and Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Debra Trotter were unopposed in Democratic primaries and face no Republican opposition in the general election.
In one other regional race on the Republican side, District 12 State Rep. Kyle Kacal was unopposed for re-election in the primary. Democrats Marianne Arnold and Chris Miller were running on the Democratic ballot. Arnold had a 199-119 edge in Falls County and won the nomination over the five-county area by a 2,180-1,472 margin. The district covers all or parts of Falls, Brazos, Limestone, McLennan and Robertson counties.
Democrats will also face a statewide runoff on May 22. Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and business Andrew White were the top two finishers in that race.