2022 Montgomery County Judge electoral contest heats up with two strong challengers to damaged incumbent

2022 Montgomery County Judge electoral contest heats up with two strong challengers to damaged incumbent

Image: An advertisement promoting a website and Facebook page concerning the unfitness of Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough to continue to serve.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe and New Caney, November 11 – Two strong challengers to incumbent Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough in the March 1, 2022, Republican Primary Election. There are rumors of other possible candidates entering the race.

Keough has drawn at least two strong challengers so far.

First, Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman is running intensely for the position. Countryman is a popular Mayor of the small town in the northwest quadrant of the County. During her time in office, however, she has made many strong relationships all across this community.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Billy Graff, a popular conservative leader, announced his candidacy for the position. Graff comes from an extensive nonprofit background in which he has worked closely with County governments across southeast Texas to assist them in responding to disasters, which have befallen upon their communities.

There’s a strong perception that Keough has been a feckless County Judge and that he has allowed his Chief of Staff, Jason Millsaps, to fulfill most of his job duties. Without question, Keough has largely been absent from the County Judge’s Office during the first three years of his four-year term. Keough has, nevertheless, announced that he’s running for re-election.

Serious questions have arisen regarding Keough’s fitness to serve in the office. On September 10, 2020, Keough, doped up on Ambien, a downer, and methamphetamine, an upper, caused a sequence of serious vehicle collisions on Grogans Mill Road in The Woodlands. After plowing his Lexus SUV into a moving vehicle, Keough dashed from that collision and, as he sought to flee, ran into a parked police vehicle, thereby causing serious injury to a Deputy Constable as well as to himself.

Keough totaled his vehicle and caused serious damage to the other two vehicles he impacted. He has never apologized to Montgomery County taxpayers for the substantial expense they incurred as a result of his conduct. Worse, after Keough lost his Drivers License, temporarily, he maneuvered the Commissioners Court to endorse taxpayer-funding for Keough to use a County vehicle and a full-time driver to ferry Keough to and from work every day.

Keough came into office promising that he would clean up the County government’s reputation as “the most corrupt county in Texas.” Rather than cleaning anything, Keough has made the situation far worse by supporting substantial spending increases, failing to reform the County’s purchasing system, failing to implement an ethics policy through the Ethics Commission, failing to oversee $17.5 million of County funds put there from tax dollars to support County government employee benefits all of which such funds disappeared entirely under Keough’s watch, and failing to implement the $17.1 million investment in Enterprise Resource Planning software in a manner usable for County employees. During Keough’s tenure, the County government has moved headlong towards secrecy and complete exclusion of citizen involvement or oversight in County government decisions.

Of course, Keough’s worst day in office was undoubtedly March 27, 2020, when he panicked and illegally mandated church and business closures across Montgomery County, which resulted in massive unemployment and disruption of the local economy, as well as destruction of local families.

An anti-Keough campaign has arisen, emanating from the New Caney and Splendora areas in East Montgomery County. Two days ago, businessman Mark Shorten announced his website, keoughwrong4texas.com, and his Facebook page, Keough Wrong 4 Montgomery County. On each of those pages, Shorten provides extensive explanation, including videography, about the problems with Keough’s tenure as Montgomery County Judge.

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