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Dems win county posts in Fort Bend

November 12, 2018

A Democrat can win in Fort Bend County, said Cynthia M. Ginyard, county chairwoman, Fort Bend County Democratic Party.

“I asked God for one countywide position and I got a plateful,” she said the morning after the Nov. 6 election.

Democrats won seven countywide positions and three district court judgeships in Fort Bend County in the mid-term election, including that of Fort Bend County judge. Incumbent Judge Robert E. “Bob” Hebert, who had held the position since 2003, lost to his Democratic opponent KP George, who received 52.91 percent of the vote. George has served as Position 5 trustee in the Fort Bend Independent School District since 2014.

Jacey Jetton, chairman of the Fort Bend County Republican Party, could not be reached for comment.

Ginyard is already looking ahead to the 2020 election. Filing for the March 2020 primary will begin next fall and she invites would-be candidates to talk with her about the process. “We’ll have to refuel and keep going.”

She said the county Democratic Party will take a moment to take a look at what went well in the mid-term election and what it can improve on and will continue to raise funds. “We’re going to try to maintain our headquarters throughout the down time. We’ll continue to stay in a physical location so we can have continuity; so people know where we are now.”

“Democrats had a super night,” said Ginyard of the Nov. 6 election. “The turnout was huge all over the country. It was no different in Fort Bend. It was huge. That’s what we worked on.”

She credits Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for U.S. representative against incumbent Ted Cruz for creating a lot of momentum. “People wanted to get out and vote for him. We benefited from that,” said Ginyard. O’Rouke won in Fort Bend County with 55.70 percent of the vote, though he lost statewide.

Ginyard also credits a lot of hard work by the county party that started in July. The county party included state candidates in its promotional material as part of a package deal with local candidates. She believes that helped to get out the vote.

“Campaigns are won in the ground game. You have to get to voters. Too often people get caught up in the fluff. Fluff has its place but fluff is not what wins campaign. It takes grit work. We engaged as a county party,” said Ginyard.

“I”m so very proud of our results. I’m mesmerized by the results. I knew we would do well. I had no idea we would do that well,” added Ginyard about the mid-term election.

In the mid-term election, incumbent Fort Bend County district clerk Annie Rebecca Elliott lost to her Democratic challenger Beverly McGrew Walker. Walker received 52.98 percent of the vote. Elliott had served as district clerk since 2007.

With the retirement of John Healey as district attorney, Brian M. Middleton bested his Republican opponent Cliff Vacek by receiving 53.86 percent of the vote.

Incumbent 240th District Court Judge Chad Bridges and 458th District Court Judge Ken Cannata both lost to Democratic opponents. Bridges was appointed judge by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015. Cannata was appointed to his post in 2017 by Abbott. Frank Fraley received 52.89 percent of the vote for 240th District Court judge and Robert L. Rolnick received 52.94 percent of the vote for 458th District Court judge

Another longtime incumbent also lost to a Democratic challenger. Sworn into office on Jan. 1, 1999, Precinct 4 County Commissioner James Patterson received 48.37 percent of the votes but lost to Democrat Ken R. DeMerchant who received 51.63 percent of votes.

Precinct 2 County Commissioner Grady Prestage, a Democrat, was unopposed in his re-election bid.

Democrats also won four countywide judgeships and one district court judgeship. where there were no incumbents. The winners are R.O’Neil Williams for 268th District Court, Juli Mathew for County Court at Law No. 3, Toni Wallace for County Court at Law No. 4; Teana Watson for County Court at Law No. 5 and Sherman Hatton Jr. for County Court at Law No. 6.

Republican incumbents ran unopposed campaigns for Court of Laws No.1 and No. 2 and for judge in the 328th District Court.

No contests existed for county clerk or county treasurer. Republican incumbent County Clerk Laura Richard was re-elected. Republican Bill Rickert was elected treasurer.

In two contested races for Justice of the Peace, the Republicans won. Mary S. Ward was re-elected as JP Precinct 1, Place 2. Kelly Nicole Crow was elected Precinct 3 JP.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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