Orange County election results favor Trump
By Dave Rogers
For the Record
Orange County did its part in helping businessman Donald Trump shock the world Tuesday.
In their race for the presidency of the United States, Trump, the billionaire developer/reality TV star, was leading former First Lady Hillary Clinton in electoral votes with only a handful of states still undeclared at midnight.
In an election that saw a record 32,142 votes placed in Orange County, the final totals here were 25,385 for Trump — who captured nearly 80 percent — with 5,716 for former Clinton.
Sheila Faske, GOP Chair for Orange County, called the shot, predicting last week that local voters would give Trump a bigger mandate than the 76-22 edge Mitt Romney enjoyed over Barack Obama in Orange in the last presidential election.
This time, Orange County voters backed the Republican nominee by 79 percent to 18 percent for Democrat Clinton.
“This election brought to light the level of corruption and opened the conversation for citizens that are struggling,” Faske said Tuesday night.
“Orange County spoke loudly.”
Deborah Mitchell, county Democratic Party chair, called for a strategy session at 4 p.m. Nov. 20 at party headquarters.
“What’s sad is the number of Dem votes, no matter what we do,” she said. “We have got to do something else!”
With 87 percent of the Texas vote counted by midnight, Clinton was actually running better in the state than Obama did in the last two elections.
The first female candidate to top a major presidential ticket was down eight points to Trump in Texas, 52 percent to 44.
Democratic presidential nominees were trounced in Texas by double digits the last four times. Obama lost Texas by 12 percentage points in 2008 and 16 in 2012.
A Democrat hasn’t won a state-wide election in Texas since 1994, though Democrat Zena Stephens denied Ray Beck a shot at being Jefferson County’s first Republican sheriff, pulling an upset 51-49 win.
In Orange County, where Republicans ran unopposed for every countywide office, Lawrence “Larry” Meyers, a Fort Worth native running as an incumbent for Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2, was the Democrat getting the most votes, 6,129, and that was good for only a 20-percent share of votes cast.
In the other statewide races involving two parties or more, Orange County voters awarded every Republican candidate at least 75 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Brian Babin of Woodville won re-election as U.S. Representative for District 36 with 26,284 votes (92 percent) over Bridge City’s Hal J. Ridley Jr., who repped the Green Party.
Orange County has 53,053 registered voters and 61 percent of them turned out to vote.
The 32,142 votes cast in Orange County were up 4.2 percent from the previous high Orange County mark of 30,836 cast in the 2012 election.
Early voting in Orange County set a new record, despite there being no contested local records. There were 22,940 early votes cast, a 13.8 percent increase over the same period in the 2012 election, when the previous high of 20,153 early votes was set.
Early voters cast 71.4 percent of Orange County’s votes.
Of this year’s early votes, 1,855 were cast by mail. Orange Public Library, one of four early voting sites, received the most ballots, 7,219.
Each of the Orange County offices on the ballot featured just one choice, the candidates running unopposed after winning their party’s spring primary election.
They included: Judge, County Court-At-Law No. 2, Troy Johnson; County Attorney, John Kimbrough; County Clerk, Brandy Robertson; Sheriff, Keith Merritt; County Tax Assessor-Collector, Karen Fisher.
Two County Commissioner seats were on the ballot: Precinct 1, Johnny Trahan; Precinct 3, John Gothia. Voting included all four Constables: Precinct 1, Chris Humble; Precinct 2, David A. Cagle; Precinct 3, Mark Philpott; Precinct 4, Jimmy Lane Mooney.
State Representative District 21, Republican Dad Phelan, who ran unopposed.
The Republican sweep of the 10 state-wide offices on the Orange County ballot included: Railroad Commissioner, Wayne Christian; Texas Supreme Court Justices Place 3, Debra Lehrmann; Place 5, Paul Green; Place 9, Eva Guzman; Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judges Place 2, Mary Lou Keel; Place 5, Scott Walker; Place 6, Michael E. Keasler; Ninth Court of Criminal Appeals Justice, Place 2, Charles A. Kreger; District Judge 128th Judicial District, Courtney Burch Arkeen; District Judge 163rd Judicial District, Dennis Powell.
Dr. Ron Risinger was officially elected to his second four-year term on the Orangefield school board, with a 570-78 win over reluctant challenger David Chris Wagstaff.
Wagstaff had tried to take his name off the ballot but was too late, according to state law, necessitating the election.