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PJC Expansion Rejected, Fannin Courthouse Restoration Approved, Hunt Totals Late

The United States flag waves on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016.
Mark Haslett
The United States flag waves on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016.

In an election that featured unusually high voter turnout throughout Northeast Texas, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have expanded Paris Junior College's district to include all of Lamar and Delta Counties as well as parts of Fannin, Hopkins, Hunt and Red River Counties. Voters in Fannin County gave a thumbs-up to a proposed restoration of the county courthouse in Bonham. As of publication time, Hunt County totals, except for the numbers from the PJC measure, remain unavailable.

The Paris Junior College taxing district currently includes the City of Paris and a small part of southern Lamar County -- an area of 44 square miles. A measure on the Nov. 8 ballots would have expanded the district to include all of Lamar and Delta Counties, almost all of Hunt County, large parts of Hopkins and Red River Counties and eastern Fannin County. Property taxes in the annexed areas would have been raised 8.5 cents per $100 of appraised value - an average of about $7 a month for a $100,000 home.

Northeast Texas voters rejected the proposal by a 32,262 to 22,797 margin, according to unofficial totals. Only Lamar County voters approved the measure, by a 5,491-4,576 margin. The proposal lost in Delta (1,353-664), Fannin (5,491-4,576), Hunt (16,275-11,194), Hopkins (7,164-3,126) and Red River (2,097-1,739) Counties.

In Fannin County, voters said yes to the $12.5 million County Courthouse restoration referendum. About 62 percent of voters (6,304) supported the measure; 38 percent (3,831) said no. The referendum complements a $5 million grant from the Texas Historical Commission to restore the 138-year-old structure in Bonham’s downtown square.

In the state Railroad Commission race, Republican Wayne Christian garnered 53 percent of the vote. Democrat challenger Gary Yarbrough earned about 40 percent. Libertarian Mark Miller, who had earned endorsements from nearly every major newspaper in Texas, earned just 5 percent of the vote.

In the State Board of Education’s 9th District, Republican Keven Ellis won by a large margin, gaining nearly three-quarters of the vote. Democrat Amanda Rudolph garnered about 23 percent, while Libertarian Amanda Wilford captured about 3 percent.

In the 33rd District for State Representative race, Republican and Rockwall County native Justin Holland won, earning about 68 percent of the vote. Democrat Karen Jacobs took in about 30 percent, while Libertarian Rick Donaldson got a little less than 3 percent.

Complete county totals: Collin County (eastern), Delta County, Fannin County, Hopkins County, Hunt County, Lamar County, Rockwall County. Rains County results were not available.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.