ELECTION 2020: While debate over presidential race rages, Texas state and local results offered few surprises and very little mystery on election night
While the hotly-contested, much-debated, and now legally-challenged outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election has remained the primary topic of discussion since election night last Tuesday, Nov. 3, the battle for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives – not to mention down-ballot state, county and local races – became afterthoughts.
According to the New York Times, while Democrats had expected to build on the sweeping gains they made in 2018, they instead wound up losing seats in the House, while picking up fewer Senate seats than expected and making no major gains in state legislatures.
So with that said, let's make no mistake. For the State of Texas in general and Bosque County specifically, the 2020 General Election proved to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing as the Lone Star State remained resoundly red.
With only two contested Bosque County races on the ballot, the results resembled the days of not-so-long-gone straight ticket voting as Republican candidates received over 80 percent of the vote up and down the ballot.
Headlining the county elections, Republican Trace Hendricks captured 81.2 percent of the vote to become the next Bosque County Sheriff, overwhelming Democrat hopeful Danny Ragsdale. Hendricks, currently serving as the Clifton Police Chief, unofficially collected 7,209 votes while Whitney Police Department patrol officer Ragsdale collected 1,665. As Bosque County Sheriff-elect, Hendricks will replace incumbent Anthony Malott, who chose to not seek re-election after holding office since Jan. 2009.
"I want to thank the voters of Bosque County for electing me to serve as your Sheriff," Hendricks said. "During my campaign, I learned of the issues and concerns that the citizens face, and I made a commitment to work toward a resolution of those issues. I will begin on day one to fulfill my platform and make Bosque County a safer place to live. Thank you all for your vote of confidence."
In the most competitive contested race on the ballot, Republican Billy Ray Hall won the battle to become the next Bosque County Commissioner for Pct. 1 with 66.0 percent of the vote, holding off Democrat challenger John McPeek (25.3%) and write-in hopeful Bryon Grounds (8.5%). After defeating incumbent Marvin Wickman by only 26 votes in the Republican Primary last March, Hall easily surpassed McPeek with 1,668 to 639 votes.
"I'd like to take this opportunity and thank all the good people in Pct.1 for their support and in trusting me to be their Commissioner for the next four years," Hall said. "It's going to be difficult due to fact that Bosque County is not a wealthy county to begin with, but I'm up for the task. On January 1st, we're going to hit the ground running."
Going into Election Day, political pundits and the polls indicated Texas could prove to be a Swing State as Democrats appeared to be at least in the running in races for the presidency, the U.S. Senate and possibly even the U.S. House. But nothing could have been further from the truth.
As expected at the district level for state representation, Republican incumbent Brian Birdwell easily won re-election for the Texas State District 22 seat by knocking off Democrat challenger Robert Vick with 68.5 percent of the vote, while Republican incumbent DeWayne Burns overwhelmed Democrat challenger Cindy Rocha for the Texas House District 58 seat with 79.1 percent.
"Thank you to everyone that trusted me with their vote to again represent Bosque and Johnson Counties in the Texas House," Burns said. "It’s truly an honor to serve this community and work on our shared priorities for Texas. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone that worked, supported, and helped in my re-election and to those that have prayed, and continue to do so, for my family, me, and our great state."
On the statewide ballot, Republican incumbent John Cornyn easily held onto his U.S. Senate seat in surprising fashion with 56.0 percent of the vote, fending off a fierce challenge from moderate Democrat Mary "MJ" Hegar, who served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard and was honorably discharged after completing three tours of duty in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Republican incumbent Roger Williams defied the predictions by strengthening his hold on the Texas District 25 U.S. House of Representative seat, once again defeating liberal Democrat challenger Julie Oliver. Despite heavy voter support from the Austin area, Oliver lost by 14 points, 56-42 percent, losing ground since falling by only eight points in 2018.
"Tonight, the people of Texas' 25th District have once again sent a clear message that they want a government that abides by the Constitution and empowers the American people to reach their fullest potential," Williams said election night. "I'm honored they have once again trusted me to represent them in Congress, and I pledge to spend this next term continuing the fight for lower taxes, defending our law enforcement, taking care of our military and veterans, and protecting the unborn."
According to nonpartisan polls shortly before Election Day, Texas consistently ranked as one of the nation’s closest states in the presidential race. After defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton by nine points in 2016, Republican incumbent President Donald Trump handily overcame Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden, 52.2-46.4 percent of the vote statewide to earn the Lone Star State's 38 Electoral College votes. Trump captured 81.8 percent of the vote in Bosque County.
“Once again, Bosque County and the State of Texas have remained Red after this election,” Bosque County Republican Chairperson Janet Jackson said. “However, as evidenced by the federal elections, partisanship has never been more divisive and dangerous.
“Congratulations to Sheriff-elect Trace Hendricks and soon-to-be Commissioner Billy Hall. I wish both men the best in their new positions serving our county.”
Photos by BRETT VOSS & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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