At least four surprises in the 2018 Republican Primary Election

Montgomery County Judge candidate and State Representative Mark Keough (left, dignifying the Cowboy Hat) and Kim Keough in front of President Donald Trump’s home in Washington, D.C., on March 12, 2018.

Montgomery County, March 16 – March 6, 2018, the Republican Primary Election day in Montgomery County, held some surprises. There were some odd things that happened that might have indicated otherwise.

The 2018 Republican Primary Election was very much a cohesive election. East Montgomery County didn’t vote differently from other areas. The Woodlands, Conroe, Magnolia, Montgomery, and Willis voted fairly similarly. More so than in previous years. Sheriff Rand Henderson’s observation during his interview with The Golden Hammer that people are enthusiastic about living in this community and that they identify with each other as one community is likely very true.

There were four very pleasant surprises that our community observed during the 2018 Republican Primary. Of course, the outcome was pretty exciting as well.

The citizens of Montgomery County who voted did a great job of discernment

There were definitely some candidates who attempted to provide propaganda spin to some of their weaknesses. Citizens observed major attempts at political spin in the County Judge, County Treasurer, and 284th District Court races. In none of those races, however, did the spin work.

Across Montgomery County, voters seemed far better prepared to vote than they had previously. Reports from one ballot box to the next were that voters did not particularly want push cards from individual candidates. Thousands of voters came to vote with sample ballots very clearly marked up with selections the voters had made on their own before arriving at the polling locations. The successful sample ballots that came with voters clearly were the Texas Patriots PAC voter guide, the Linkletter, and the Freedom & Liberty Conservatives PAC list of recommended reformers (in a very distant third place behind the other two).

Voters seemed far better prepared to cast their selections than in previous years. An indicator of that fact was how well Galveston County District Judge Michelle Slaughter in her run for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Neither the Texas Patriots PAC nor the Montgomery County Tea Party PAC had endorsed Slaughter, although many other statewide organizations, such as Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life (and this newspaper) had endorsed her. Despite the lack of group endorsements, Slaughter received 49% of the vote in Montgomery County which helped her win the election outright statewide with 53% of the total Texas vote.

There were many citizens who seemed to know before they showed up to vote that the “Conservative Republicans of Texas” “sample ballot” was a fake “pay to play” advertisement even before arrived to vote. There were many instances where voters rebuffed attempts to provide that fake ballot to them as they walked from their car to the polls.

Voters were not at all adverse to discussing the election with poll workers or candidates, although they had made their minds up beforehand. It’s clear that the high level of intelligence of the people of Montgomery County very much shone through in people’s decisions and their unwillingness to believe political spin.

The citizens did a great job and were the true winners in the 2018 election.

Keough won the County Judge race countywide

State Representative Mark Keough ran a countywide race and enjoyed a countywide victory. Voting on Election Day was particularly heavy in the northern voting boxes, so it appeared that Doyal and the political “establishment” was surging. Doyal personally worked at the Bentwater voting location almost all of Election Day. He had a solid crew of people working for him at other polling locations in the Lake Conroe area.

In reality, those polling locations ended up going for Keough. Doyal’s corruption has fatigued voters. Many voters commented that they were offended when Doyal claimed on his campaign signs and literature that he was a “conservative.”

While Keough did run very strong in his home Commissioners Precinct, Precinct 3 (where James Noack is the County Commissioner), Keough won all four Commissioners Precincts:

  • Precinct 1 (Willis, Lake Conroe, Montgomery – County Commissioner Mike Meador) – Keough won 51.3% of 12,753 votes cast.
  • Precinct 2 (Magnolia, Woodforest, Alden Bridge, Jacob’s Reserve area, River Plantation – County Commissioner Charlie Riley) – Keough won 56.4% of 14,698 votes cast.
  • Precinct 3 (The Woodlands, Spring, and part of Oak Ridge North – County Commissioner James Noack) – Keough won 71.5% of 11,127 votes cast.
  • Precinct 4 (East Montgomery County, Grangerland, Harper’s Landing, part of Oak Ridge North – County Commissioner Jim Clark) – Keough won 52.3% of 8,342 votes cast.

Keough strong results across the entire County shows that he is the candidate who has successfully unified Republican voters behind reform of the Montgomery County government.

Davenport Ring obliterated; Hayden-Metts machine weak than people thought in East Montgomery County

Voters clearly had enough of the corruption and outright mendacity of the candidates on the ballot in the Davenport Ring. County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport lost her re-election effort by a landslide to Conroe ISD President Melanie Pryor Bush. For an incumbent, who had been in office for five years, to lose her re-election bid with only 33.94% of the vote out of 44,827 ballots cast was a complete rejection of her time in office.

Popular Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden wasn’t on the ballot but he staked his political reputation on the election of James Metts, the corrupt JP, who is seeking to become the Precinct 4 County Commissioner and who rarely reports for work and has cost County taxpayers millions in a sexual harassment lawsuit, terrible collections processes for Justice Court fees and fines, and an unwillingness to provide taxpayers with the service required of a JP who receives a salary in excess of $126,000 per year. Metts and his supporters had guaranteed that he would win the Republican Primary Election without a runoff. Instead, only 8,634 East Montgomery County voters participated in the Precinct 4 race, while only 40.02% of those voters supported Metts. Metts just barely bested incumbent Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark by a few hundred votes.

The only candidate, who had ties to the Davenport Ring, who won was Jason Dunn who run for Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace. Dunn is a popular Splendora ISD Board member with strong ties to law enforcement. Dunn claims that he had severed his ties with corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport long ago.

Davenport himself faces a criminal indictment along with Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley and County Judge Craig Doyal for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. There may be other criminal charges pending against Davenport as well for unrelated matters.

County Judge Craig Doyal has also maintained strong ties to the Davenports. Obviously, the voters rejected him as well.

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