Conroe, February 25 – With all of the discussion of County Judge Craig Doyal’s “Hit List” of his political enemies that has arisen as a result of County Human Resources Department Director Dodi Shaw’s mention of it in her formal letter of February 13, 2017, three sources, who have requested anonymity, approached The Golden Hammer to recount precisely how the infamous list came about.
The night of March 4, 2014, was both good and bad for then-Precinct 2 County Commissioner Craig Doyal. Doyal was a candidate for Montgomery County Judge in the Republican Primary Election. He and a group of his closest supporters sat around a conference table in a law office at 207 Simonton Street in Conroe where Doyal’s campaign held a post-election party. The election results were coming in, as Doyal sat at the center of the conference table (in the “power position”) underneath a metal star that hung on the wall behind him. One of his closest friends, businessman Brian Dawson, sat two chairs away from Doyal and announced the election returns from Montgomery County’s voting precincts as they came across Dawson’s laptop computer.
Some of Doyal’s closest allies in the Primary Election sat or stood around the table with him including Dawson’s wife, a high-level employee from the County Clerk’s office, and the longtime administrative assistant of the County Engineer’s office, among others. The witnesses to the incident all agreed upon the facts, except that one of them remembered the conference table as “oval” rather than the rectangle that it actually is. One of the three witnesses recalls County Engineer Mark Mooney in the room at the time of the list’s creation but one of the others is not certain and one doesn’t recall him there.
The results showed a very tight race between Doyal and County Infrastructure Director Mark Bosma. County Judge Barb Sadler’s former chief of staff Doris Golemon appeared to be running a distant third place but garnered enough votes to force a runoff between Doyal and Bosma. The final results of the Republican Primary Election were 17,133 votes for Doyal (43.39%), 17,228 votes for Bosma (43.63%), and 5,124 votes for Golemon (12.98%).
Doyal announced to his supporters as the results came in words to the effect, “I want to know every county employee that supported Mark Bosma. They’re about to get theirs.”
In response, the group and Doyal began to list the names of the people who came to their minds. Doyal had a pen and sheet of paper and wrote down their names as his friends and supporters listed them.
The original list did not have a title of the “Hit List.” It did, however, include:
2) Darlou Zenor, County Purchasing Director;
3) Bruce Zenor, Lieutenant, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department;
4) Dodi Shaw, County Human Resources Director;
5) Scott Nichols, County Environmental Health Director; and
6) Captain Mike White, Office of the Constable, Precinct 2.
On May 27, 2014, Doyal defeated Bosma in the Republican Primary Runoff Election with 54.68% of the 33,138 votes cast. By then, at least one of the people who had been in the room with Doyal when he compiled the original enemies’ list became a list member herself. Doyal had named the list the “Hit List” and had told a number of his supporters that he also included:
1) through 6) original list members;
7) Precinct 2 Constable Gene DeForest;
8) Precinct 3 Constable Ryan Gable;
9) J.D. Lambright, County Attorney, who began to work closely with Doyal after Doyal became County Judge;
10) Brett Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney;
11) Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, Doyal’s nemesis on the Commissioners Court; and
12) Marie Moore, Precinct 4 Administrator.