Conroe, May 5 – It’s still 10 months off from the Republican Primary Election. Nevertheless, one of the most frequent comments The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, receives from readers is that they are hopeful that after the 2018 elections, the County Commissioners Court will change its makeup. Just for fun, it’s time to talk about candidates and prognostication. (Some may recall that The Golden Hammer’s Publisher predicted the 2016 Presidential Election contest state-by-state and only predicted one state, Colorado, incorrectly. He called every contested U.S. Senate and Congressional race correctly.)
Our current County Commissioners Court consists of five Republicans, in name. Three – County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley – are firmly in the “Establishment” sub-party. One, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, is in the “Reform” sub-party, while Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark is between the two sub-parties.
While many people have expressed the desire to elect just about anyone other than Meador, he’s not facing re-election in 2018. Meador’s term ends December 31, 2020.
The three seats up for re-election in 2018 are County Judge, Precinct 2 Commissioner (Riley), and Precinct 4 Commissioner (Clark). Here’s the current analysis.
County Judge. Doyal has no opponent at this point in time, although businessman Mitch Hausman is one of the names mentioned for this position.
Current prediction who would win at this point in time: Doyal 90%, because no one else is running. Doyal has some problems: (1) he still faces criminal charges, (2) he has a terribly anti-conservative record as County Judge, (3) he faces major ethical blunders he’s made as County Judge, and (4) he would probably run stronger in a moderate democrat area.
County Commissioner, Precinct 2. Riley appears to be running for re-election. He definitely faces some challenges. His constituents in the western part of Precinct 2 are probably more solidly behind Riley than those towards the east. Riley has a serious problem with his constituents in Alden Bridge, a portion of The Woodlands, who comprise a significant portion of the vote.
Businessman Brian Dawson appears to be running for the position as well. Dawson is a close friend and associate of Doyal’s. Therefore, it appears that Doyal is not supporting his former Operations Manager Riley for re-election.
There are substantial rumors that two others may run for the seat. First, Woodlands businessman Steve Toth would be a very strong candidate, especially because he represented a large portion of Precinct 2 when Toth served in the Texas House of Representatives. Second, businessman and political writer Gregory Parker has shown some interest in the position as well. Both Toth and Parker have strong conservative credentials.
Current prediction who would win at this point in time: Toth 30%, Dawson 20%, Riley 40%, Parker 10%.
County Commissioner, Precinct 4. There’s a big difference between what this race is now as opposed to what it will likely be by the time the candidates file. Currently, there appear to be two candidates for this County Commissioner position.
The incumbent, Jim Clark, faces some steep challenges. The Animal Shelter and his record inside Precinct 4 are issues which his political opponents have already begun to raise. Clark is good at raising campaign funds, especially since he’s an incumbent Commissioner.
Montgomery County Hospital District Board member Bob Bagley has strong conservative credentials. Bagley has become a better candidate each time he’s run for office. Bagley ran a respectable campaign in 2014 for County Commissioner. Bagley’s major challenge is fundraising. If he can raise money, he’ll be a serious challenger. If not, he won’t.
The 16-ton gorilla lurking in the room is Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, James Metts. The Golden Hammer believes that the odds that Metts will run for County Commissioner against Clark and Bagley are approximately 100%. Metts is a popular and successful Justice of the Peace. He grew up in East Montgomery County and is very close to the most popular elected official in the area, Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden.
Current prediction who would win at this point in time: Metts 70%, Bagley 20%, Clark 10%. This race is quite fluid, however. Clark can use the power of incumbency to strut his ability. Bagley appears to be working hard. Metts can’t run – without resigning as the Justice of the Peace – until December (11 months before the general election).
With the current predictions, at this point in time, Montgomery County citizens ought to be prepared for the “Establishment” to continue to control the Montgomery County Commissioners Court for a good while. Metts is far more “Establishment” than even Clark.
A Commissioners Court with Doyal, Riley, Metts, Meador, and Noack will make Noack a very lonely man.