Early vote underway with primary run-off polling set May 22

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After polls close this afternoon, voters will have just two more days to cast early ballots in run-offs left over from the March 6 primary.

Locally, that’s just a handful of contests waiting for decisions for Republicans and Democrats in Gregg and Rusk counties. Polling opened Monday for a run through Friday before the actual run-off Tuesday, May 22 (mailed ballots are due the same day).

Democrat voters in Kilgore – regardless of their county – have one more state race on the ticket as Andrew White and Lupe Valdez make a final pitch to become their party’s nominee to face GOP incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott in November.

Also on select Democrat ballots, Gregg County residents who live in Precinct 4 (which includes a portion of Kilgore) will choose the party’s nominee to face the GOP’s November contender, Rudy Rudolph. In contention on the Democrat ticket, James Mathis and Robby R. Cox left the primary election with 984 votes and 973, respectively, bound for a run-off when neither collected the necessary majority in the initial three-way race.

Early voting in Gregg County is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Friday at the courthouse and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the Kilgore Community House on Kay Street as well at Longview’s Judson Community Center, Greggton Community Center and Broughton Recreation Center.

Come May 22, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at stations throughout the county. Ballots can be cast at any location through Gregg County-wide polling, including nearby at the Kilgore Community House and Elderville Community Center.

Rusk County Democrats have the same gubernatorial decision to make but no local run-offs on their ballots.

Their Republican neighbors in Precinct 1 (which includes Kilgore residents) are finalizing their nominee for Justice of the Peace. The four-person primary race narrowed to two March 6: Teresa Jones is trying to close the gap with Pat McCrory, who netted 49.85 percent of the initial vote to Jones 17.19 percent share.

Whoever wins, he or she will face Democrat Janice Bagley in the JP-1 box come November.

In Rusk County Precinct 2, GOP voters have another Justice of the Peace decision: that four-way primary ended in a near-tie for the frontrunners in March.

Cindy Redmon collected 459 votes in the primary election to 458 votes for Bo Pepper, eliminating the remaining candidates and heading for the May 22 run-off.

Only the Rusk County Election Office is taking early votes – run-off ballots can be cast from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Friday at 204 Main St. in Henderson. Polls will be open throughout the county from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 22 – Kilgore voters cast ballots at Chandler Street Church of Christ. Learn more online via tinyurl.com/RuskCountyElections.

– By JAMES DRAPER

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