Splendora and Magnolia, May 24 – The contrast between the victory speeches of Precinct 4 County Commissioner-Elect James Metts and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, who won re-election, after the May 22, 2018, Republican Runoff Elections reflects what may be a very different style between the two public servants. Metts spoke humbly to thank many of his supporters who gathered to celebrate his election at Sweetie Pie’s Restaurant in Splendora, while Riley declared war against conservative Republicans, because they didn’t support him in the Precinct 2 Runoff Election.
Metts’ victory speech
Metts announced to his supporters, “We’re comfortable after speaking with Election Central that I’m your new Commissioner. It’s an honor.” That was the least humble comment Metts made during the entire 10-minute speech, and even that comment came across as low-key and appreciative of the voters.
Metts said, “It’s been trying…I look forward to working with law enforcement to give you the tools you need to help to protect us.”
Metts was pleasantly philosophical in some of his remarks. “Your government should work for you. After all, you pay for it It should work for you in Washington, in Austin, and here…You can county on me to give you 110%. I will work hard to fix the problems we have here.”
The Commissioner-Elect noted, “Your vote is the last private thing you have in America. When you vote for me, you’re putting your faith and your confidence that I’m not going to let you down.”
Metts thanked many of his campaign workers by individual name. He was particularly appreciative of former Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ed Rinehart and Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden both of whom endorsed and worked hard for Metts during his campaign to unseat incumbent County Commissioner Jim Clark.
The tone of Metts’ speech was the most remarkable aspect of it. Despite a bruising campaign for election to the position between Metts and Clark, Metts had nothing negative to say about anyone. His speech clearly indicated a strong desire to unify the citizens of Montgomery County and of East Montgomery County in particular.
Riley’s victory speech
Riley’s victory speech overstated what had happened. Riley informed the small group of people who attended his victory event that he had received a “mandate” from the people. Riley received 4,960 votes to Parker’s 3,905 votes, or a 55.95 % to 44.05 % outcome. The low turnout permitted the political establishment to have an enormous impact by turning out core establishment supporters who have close relationships with Riley.
Riley seemed focused on retribution against people who didn’t support his re-election more than he wanted to thank people who had helped him win.
Riley declared war on the Republican Precinct Chairs in Commissioners Precinct 2 who didn’t support his candidacy. “We got some folks that need to be gone from here in Precinct 2…If you don’t hear nothing else, we got momentum. We got problems in our Precinct Chairs and other places. We need to deal with it and we need to start dealing with it now.”
Eleven conservative Republican Precinct Chairs in Commissioners Precinct 2 endorsed Riley’s electoral opponent Greg Parker.
Riley did make clear that he’s glad the campaign has ended but he’s overplaying the meaning of his victory. “This last year and a half has been rough…and my faith has taken a nose-dive some times…Montgomery County has been moving forward. Tonight we are on our way.”
More than anyone else whom Riley did thank, however, Riley was most gracious towards lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal. “I cannot thank Judge Craig Doyal enough for what he has done for me,” said Riley. “Montgomery County don’t realize what they did when they turned him out.”
Riley asked Doyal to come forward so that Riley could hug his former boss publicly. Doyal lost all four Commissioners Precincts by a decisive margin in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. Riley and Doyal, along with Marc Davenport, continue to face criminal indictments for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.