Dave Rogers

For The Record

Orange County, let’s get ready to rumble!

Three — count ‘em, three — Democrats have filed for county office in the November 2018 election, so the Republican Party won’t have another uncontested walkover like it did in 2016.

Donald Brown, a mortgage broker in Vidor, took advantage of the Dec. 11 filing deadline day to announce his candidacy for county judge.

That means that after a three-way Republican primary election between incumbent Stephen Brint Carlton and challengers Ken Luce and Dean Crooks on March 6, the winner will have to campaign some more for a Nov. 6 election against Brown, the Democratic candidate.

“I think there’s probably going to be a run-off and I would be shocked if Carlton gets out of the primary,” said Brown, who is not a fan of the first-term judge.

“I don’t think he even makes it to the run-off.”

Assuming one or the other parties doesn’t drop out, other county races that will see a contested November election are County Commissioner Precinct 2 and Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.

Deborah Mitchell, former county Democratic chairman, announced in the spring her plans to run for incumbent Barry Burton’s seat. Burton, however, must first defend it against former Orange council member Theresa Adams Beauchamp in the Republican primary.

The other Democrat that filed for county office is attorney Gail Barnett, who will run in November against unelected incumbent Hershel Stagner, Jr. When Judge David Peck retired because of health reasons in January, Stagner was appointed by Commissioners’ Court to fill the final year of his term.

Veteran County Treasurer Christy Khoury and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jody Crump will face Republican challenges in March, like Carlton and Burton.

David W. Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for County Sheriff in the 2016 Republican primary against incumbent Keith Merritt, filed Monday to run March 6 against Khoury, a 16-year county employee seeking her third four-year term as Treasurer.

Crump waited until the final day to make official his intent to run for a third term. He will compete against Vidor Mayor Robert Viator in the Republican primary.

District Clerk Vickie Edgerly and County Court At Law Judge Mandy Rogers filed for re-election last week. They will run unopposed in either the primary or general, barring a third-party or write-in candidate.

Others incumbents facing no announced opposition so far are County Clerk Brandy Robertson, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simontom and Precint 4 Justice of the Peace Rodney Price.

Buddy Hahn, Judge of the 260th District Court, and Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Derry Dunn are not running for re-election and will be replaced by other Republicans.

Attorney Steve Parkhurst has filed for the 260th District Court bench and Orangefield teacher Chad Jenkins is the only candidate for JP Precinct 2.

Brown, 52, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congressman, 14th  District in 2014, losing to Randy Weber.

He calls himself a Democrat as well as a fiscal conservative and libertarian when it comes to social justice.

“I may have a D behind my name, but I’ve got Republicans who know me that support me,” he said.

He pointed out he has ties to county government as his great uncle was former Sheriff Chester Holts.

It was Carlton’s performance as county Emergency Management Director during and after Tropical Storm Harvey that caused him to run for office, Brown said.

“And I’d assume that’s why there are two emergency management people running against him in the Republican primary,” Brown said.

Among the things he said Carlton did wrong was to wait too late to call for an evacuation.

Brown said his Vidor home took four and a half feet of water after it began flooding on Tuesday, Aug. 30. The county’s mandatory evacuation order went out Aug. 31.

“Insurance companies were not paying for hotel rooms until that order was issued,” Brown said. “There were a lot of people stuck in their houses.

“Towns around Orange County did what they were supposed to do [call for evacuation]. Orange County didn’t. So all the hotel rooms were gone by the time Carlton finally issued the order.”

David W. Smith, Khoury’s opponent for County Treasurer in the Republican primary, ran for office in 2016 as a “Liberty candidate.”

His campaign literature then listed him as coordinator for the Golden Triangle Militia of Orange County and that he wanted to be a “Constitutional sheriff.”

Smith’s candidacy was questioned initially by County GOP Chairman David Covey because he did not file by the deadline a new treasurer’s report for his campaign as proscribed by law.

Tuesday, the Texas Ethics Commission told Covey to allow Smith on the ballot.

It turns out that neither of the newer Democrat candidates, Barnett and Brown, turned in their treasurer’s reports on time, but County Elections Administrator Tina Barrow reported the paperwork was filed Tuesday.
Barnett had served as Justice of the Peace elsewhere before she moved to Orange a few years ago, she told Commissioners’ Court in January when she asked to be considered for the opening left by Peck’s retirement.

The Democratic Party of Orange County will have one election for the March 6 primary, an election for County Chairman to replace John Baker, who replaced Mitchell on a temporary basis.

Louis Ackerman is running against Marcus Wilkerson for the Dem County Chairmanship.

Candidates for county office

March 6 Democratic Primary

County Chairman – Louis Ackerman vs. Marcus Wilkerson.

March 6 GOP Primary

County Judge – Stephen Brint Carlton (I) vs. Ken Luce vs. Dean Crooks.

County Commissioner, Pct. 2 – Barry Burton (I) vs. Theresa Beauchamp.

County Commissioner, Pct. 4 – Jody Crump (I) vs. Robert Viator.

County Treasurer – Christy Khoury (I) vs. David W. Smith.

Nov. 6 General Election

County Judge – GOP primary winner vs. Donald Brown, Democrat.

Judge, 260th District Court – Steve Parkhurst, Republican, unopposed.

Judge, County Court At Law – Mandy Rogers, Republican, unopposed.

Commissioner, Pct. 2 – GOP primary winner vs. Deborah Mitchell, Democrat.

Commissioner, Pct. 4 – GOP primary winner, unopposed.

District Clerk – Vickie Edgerly, Republican, unopposed.

County Clerk – Brandy Robertson, Republican, unopposed.

County Treasurer – GOP primary winner, unopposed.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 – Hershel Stagner, Jr., Republican, vs. Gail Barnett, Democrat.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 – Chad Jenkins, Republican, unopposed.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3 – Joy Dubose-Simonton, Republican, unopposed.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4 – Rodney Price, Republican, unopposed.