Sabine County judge candidates say they're friends, but both want office

Lee Dutton, Jr.
Lee Dutton, Jr.
Sabine Co. Judge Charles Watson
Sabine Co. Judge Charles Watson

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) –  There's a big race at stake on the Sabine County ballot.  Voters are deciding whether to elect someone new or re-elect their current county judge.

Charles Watson has one term under his belt as Sabine County judge.

"I feel like I have the county moving in the right direction and I'm just not ready to quit yet,"said Charles Watson (D).

Lee Dutton, Jr. is running against him for the title.  It's something he's planned on for years.

"About ten or 12 years ago I made up my mind that I wanted to give back to Sabine County so I was going to run for county judge when I retired," said Dutton(R).

In fact, he recently retired after more than two decades as president of First State Bank.

"With my financial history I feel like maybe we can come up with some creative financing and do some things that maybe the judge hasn't thought of or the commissioners," said Dutton.

Both candidates say they're good friends and will stay that way -no matter what the voters decide.

"We go to church together, we eat lunch together. We're going to be friends - whoever wins," said Dutton.

"I look at that kind of like two guys - there's going to be a job for the next four years. We both put in our application and resume," said Watson.

Dutton says public service has always been a priority, like when he plays bridge with hospital patients.  In that spirit, he hopes voters know that being elected will allow him to serve on a larger scale.

"The majority of the people do know me and they know I'm honest. I'm not going to be detrimental to me or the county," said Dutton.

From what Judge Watson has gathered, he believes county residents think he's doing a good job.  If they give him a second term he promises to continue to be dedicated to their best interests.

"I have no agenda of my own. My only agenda - if I had one - would be to do the best I can for everyone in Sabine County," said Watson.

Now, it's up to the voters to decide which man takes the leadership reins.

Sabine County also has two commissioners races on the ballot.  For precinct two, incumbent, Democrat Jimmy McDaniel faces Republican Keith Nabours.

The precinct four race has incumbent, Republican Fayne Warner pitted against Democrat Brad Shirley.

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