Liberty, Cleveland ISDs dealt major blows
It was a big night for the Liberty County Republican Party as they dealt a massive blow to local Democrats.
Coming into Tuesday night, Democrats held only one elected office in the county as 40-year incumbent Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Ronnie Davis sought an 11th term. However, local voters overwhelmingly supported Republican Jimmy Belt. Belt walked away with a big win, 700-438.
"For the first time in current memory, Republicans soundly took control of almost every box in Liberty County, including historically Democrat boxes of Raywood and Pct. 20. Significantly, Republican Candidate for JP Jimmy Belt ousted the last Democrat elected official in the county," said Republican Party Chairwoman Emily Cook.
Davis' loss saddened Democratic Party Chairman Michael Mark.
"Obviously, I am disappointed that Judge Davis was defeated for re-election. He was a competent judge who was doing a wonderful job and I wish his party affiliation had not been the sole basis for his loss. However, I am heartened that the alleged 'red wave' never materialized," said Mark.
While nationally talk of a "red wave" may have fallen short of expectations, locally, it was clear the county was firmly entrenched in the Republicans' favor. Not a single statewide Republican candidate had less than 80 percent of the vote locally.
"It is clear Liberty Countians reject the 'woke' agenda of crazy liberals, and instead value policies that make it easier to earn a living, raise a family and live out your faith," said Cook.
Also, on the ballot this year were a pair of school-related issues, with voters in Liberty and Cleveland ISDs coming to the polls.
In Liberty, voters were deciding on a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election that would have helped generate an estimated $ 1.9 million annually while lowering the tax rate. On the other hand, if voters did not approve the proposition, it would allow for an even more considerable tax decrease for taxpayers.
In the end, LISD voters appear to have preferred the large tax decrease, as it was rejected by just under 57 percent.
"The voters have spoken, and we appreciate all the support we get from the community. It hurts to lose something you care about, but we love and appreciate our community. We will continue working for our kids because it's all about serving our students," said LISD Superintendent Dr. Cody Abshier.
In Cleveland, voters were considering a $115 million bond proposition that would have allowed the fastest-growing school district in Texas to add much-needed space for students. If approved, it would have seen the construction of a new middle school, repurposed the current Cleveland Middle School as a ninth and tenth-grade campus, the construction of a new career technical education center and other improvements across the district.
CISD voters rejected the bond soundly, leaving school officials to turn to alternate plans to alleviate the district's need to ease overcrowding.
"As far as our plan moving forward, we will continue to focus on students first," CISD Superintendent Stephen McCanless continued, "As CISD continues to grow and additional classroom space is needed, we will purchase the portable classroom buildings when and where needed. Great and exciting things go on every day in CISD, and our focus and commitment to student excellence will not change."
Finally, Tarkington ISD will see a pair of new faces and one returning to the school board.
In the race for Position 1, incumbent Paige Bostwick defeated challengers Derral Shelton and Justin Morgan. In the Position 2 contest, incumbent Donny Haltom lost to Susan Rollins, and in the race for Position 3, it was Kevin Johnson over Brent Head and Chase Carpenter.
LIBERTY COUNTY JUSTICE OF THE PEACE PCT. 2
Jimmy Belt (R) – 700
Ronnie Davis (D) – 438
LIBERTY ISD VATRE
For – 1,130
Against – 1,497
CLEVELAND ISD BOND
Yes – 1,298
No – 2,053
TARKINGTON ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Derral Shelton – 975
Paige Bostwick – 1,211
Justin Morgan – 739
Susan Rollins – 1,780
Donny Haltom – 1,162
Kevin Johnson – 1,622
Brent Head – 610
Chase Carpenter – 698