Primary runoff underway in Pineywoods

Primary runoff underway in Pineywoods

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With millions of people around the nation with focused in on the presidential race, candidates in East Texas are hoping they're not forgotten.

Angelina County Tax Assessor candidate Lisha Hammock got a big victory in March in her home area of Huntington; an area that saw a record turnout.

"Everyone seems to be focused on Novembe,r but the runoff election is very important to the area," Hammock said.

Hammock will be going up against long time county employee Billie Page, who came up as the top vote-getter in the three-person race in March.

"I have found out that it is harder to get the voters out a second time," Page said. "I am telling people, 'Bring your friends; bring four or five. Come on lets do this.'"

Until last November, Page and Hammock worked together in the tax office under the retiring Midget Sherman. Both believe they have the skills to hold the position and are looking at similar changes including longer drive through hours and cross-training employees.

"I want to win, of course, but if she wins, I will work for her," Paige said.

"She and I are good friends, and we wish each other luck," Hammock said. "I think we need change in the office."

Up the road, in Nacogdoches County, voters will find one local race to decide on. Two remain in the race for Precinct 3 county commissioner. Robin Dawley and Damon Ruckel were two of four Republicans that made it to a run off.

"We need younger guys like myself who have skin in the game." Damon Ruckle said.

"I think I have a passion to serve and I think that is what it takes," Robin Dawley said. "You are a public servant."

The winner of the two will go up against Jared Cates in November.

There is also a region wide race brewing in the Pineywoods for the state board of education. Lufkin ISD School Board President Kevin Ellis will go up against retired teacher Mary Lou Bruner. The winner will not have the spot this year with one final test coming in November against Stephen F. Austin State University professor Amanda Rudolph.

Bruner has made national headlines in the race in regard to comments she posted online linking President Barack Obama to gay prostitution. Bruner also recently made comments at a region VII Superintendent conference that many of them disagreed with concerning the college readiness of many students in the sate as well as a teacher shortage in Lufkin ISD.

In a recent interview with KTRE, Bruner defended past statements.

"I believe everyone should have the right to express their religion and freedom of speech," Bruner said.

Ellis is not sure real issues are being discussed.

This is about the school children in Texas and not someone's political views," Ellis said in the same previous story.

There are several more races listed below. Early voting continues through May 20 with the election happening on May 24.

Full list of races locally:



Mary Lou Bruner

Keven M. Ellis

Winner faces Amanda Rudolph in general election.



Tax Assessor-Collector

Billie Page

Lisha Hammock

Position vacated by Thelma "Midget" Sherman.



Commissioner, Pct. 3

Robin Dawley

Damon Ruckel

Position vacated by Jim Elder. Winner faces Jared N. Cates in general election.



Constable, Pct. 1

Derek Woods (I)

Jimmy W. Hensarling

No opponent in general election.



Constable, Pct. 2

Alex J. Garner

Royce C. Walker

Position vacated by Jerry Dan Webb. Winner faces Tammy Fountain in general election.



Constable, Pct. 3

Roy Cheatwood

Scott Burkhalter

Position vacated by Billy F. Hearnsberger. No opponent in general election.


Charles (Butch) Ellison

Stanley Jacks

Position vacated by Doyle Dickerson. Winner faces Tommy Harley in general election.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.