Aiken, Black Headed For Judicial Runoff

Mar 24, 2016

Several Northeast Texas party primary elections are headed for a May 24 runoff.

Mark Haslett: And then there were two, or perhaps three? There’s a little ambiguity afoot regarding the matter of who will replace Kevin Eltife in the Texas State Senate. Eltife represents District 1, which includes Lamar County, Franklin County, and other counties to the east. Eltife has held the office since 2004, but he chose not to run for reelection this time around. Four republicans were on the primary ballot to be the new nominee for the district. A couple of state representatives finished atop Tuesday night’s totals. Bryan Hughes of Mineola took 48% of the vote, just a bit shy of the 50% needed to win the nomination outright. David Simpson of Longview came in second with 21%. It looked like we were headed to a runoff between Hughes and Simpson, and we might still be, but the third place finisher could also be in the mix. Red Brown of Lindale received just 13 fewer votes than Simpson. Brown’s campaign says there are more than 630 provisional or military votes across the district that have not been counted. Brown sent out an email today, urging voters to with such ballots to take their completed paper work to the County Clerk’s Office by close of business on Monday. So will we have a recount and perhaps a runoff featuring Brown versus Brown, instead of Simpson? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile in Hunt County, we do know the candidates that will compete in a May runoff election for a judicial office. Here’s the man who knows that particular courtroom all too well. KETR’s Brad Kellar is a senior reporter at the Greenville Herald-Banner. We caught up with him by phone.

Brad Kellar: The 354th District Court is one of two district courts in Hunt County. And in Hunt County, along with the 196th District Court, they hear all sorts of cases, everything ranging from criminal to civil to family matter. Now the 354th District Court also serves as one of the two district courts in Rains County, but in Rains County it only handles civil cases, civil dispute cases, and they only meet there, on average, about one or two days a month.  The two top vote-getters in the primary, Keli Aiken and Craig Black, neither one of which received 50% of the vote, will be headed now to a May 24th runoff election. Keli Aiken has taken a stance that with her connection being a current Assistant District Attorney, she’s stressed her prosecutions of capital murder cases and all sorts of other capital cases, but she says she’s also been a victim’s advocate, as she tried to show that she’s also handled other forms. Craig Black was also an Assistant District Attorney at one time, and also has a very busy civil practice, and also handles some corporate civil law. He represented L3 Mission Integration towards the end of 2014, when a gentleman rammed his vehicle through the main gates at the facility, and Craig Black was able to receive a permanent injunction barring that individual from all L3 property.