Sunday, February 18, 2018

Wade wins Longview council seat; votes to be canvassed next week

By Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Feb. 5, 2018 at 10:38 a.m.
Updated Feb. 6, 2018 at 6:54 a.m.

Longview City Council District 3 candidate Wray Wade on Monday sits in a meeting to update results of the special election to fill the seat he and Lonnie Murphy sought. Wade was declared the unofficial winner to replace Kasha Williams on Monday.

UPDATE: Wray Wade will be the next District 3 representative on Longview’s City Council, according to unofficial results released Monday evening.

The 188-164 lead Wade took over Lonnie Murphy in Saturday’s election will stand after the city received no mail-in ballots either Saturday or Monday, city spokesman Shawn Hara said. The City Secretary’s Office waited until 5 p.m. Monday to attempt to count any ballots received that had been postmarked on or before Feb. 2.

“I’m absolutely elated and can’t wait to get to work for the citizens of District 3,” said Wade, an entrepreneur and former vice chairman of the Longview Economic Development Corp. “When the numbers are public, everyone will see it was hardworking people who got out and went to the polls and voted.”

No meeting of the city’s ballot board will be needed, Hara said. The results will become official once votes are canvassed by the City Council during a special-called meeting at 11:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12.

Wade and Murphy — who are brothers-in-law — were facing off to succeed Kasha Williams, who is resigning from the City Council to make a run for Gregg County Pct. 4 commissioner.

Williams remains on the council until Feb. 22, when Wade will take the oath of office to serve the remaining two years and two-plus months of Williams’ unexpired term, Hara said.

After early and Election Day ballots were counted Saturday night — including 106 mail-in ballots that were received by Friday — Wade held a 24-vote lead over Murphy, said City Secretary Angie Shepard.

Murphy won early voting with 120 votes to Wade’s 83 votes. But Wade overtook Murphy on Election Day with 105 votes to 44 votes, resulting in the 188-to-164 tally.

Wade credited voters he said came to the polls on a rainy Saturday and who “made a difference.”

“It was those people who elected me and it will be those people that I will work hard for,” he said Monday.

Shepard, who was presiding over her first City Council election since taking the secretary’s job in December, called the race “too close to call” Saturday because there were 47 more mail-in ballots delivered to voters that had not been returned to the secretary’s office. That left the candidates to wait until Monday for possibly updated results.

“The city was great,” said Wade, adding that city staff did all it could to provide his campaign with information throughout the election process.

“Any time my campaign had questions they answered them. The professionalism was tremendous,” Wade said. “The City Secretary’s Office did a great job, and I know that it was a new staff but ... hats off to them.”

Wade accumulated 53.4 percent of the ballots compared with Murphy’s 46.6 percent.

“It’s a great responsibility to take on the needs, the wants and the future of a community,” Murphy said Monday night, “so may God bless Longview, District 3 and Councilman Wade is my prayer.”

Wade said he and Murphy both ran for City Council because they both care about District 3, which encompasses southeast, downtown and central sections of Longview.

“My opponent ran a great campaign and worked really hard as well as we did. My hat goes off to him as well,” Wade said. “Because of this campaign, I’m going to be a lot better councilman because of the campaign and because of my challenger.”


It will be Tuesday at the earliest before an unofficial winner is declared in the Longview City Council special election this past weekend.

City spokesman Shawn Hara said that a ballot board must count all mail-in ballots that were postmarked no later than Feb. 2. That "will probably be in the morning to allow for (the) late afternoon mail run to arrive," Hara said.

As of Saturday night, Wray Wade held a 24-vote lead over Lonnie Murphy among early and Election Day voting and 106 mail-in ballots already received, said City Secretary Angie Shepard, who presides over city council elections. Murphy won early voting with 120 votes to Wade's 83 votes. Wade overtook Murphy on Election Day with 105 votes to 44 votes. Wade leads voting overall with 188 votes to 164 votes.

Shepard said 47 more mail-in ballots had not yet been returned to the secretary's office, she said. On Saturday night, Shepard said the results wouldn't be known until today because the race was "too close to call" and those 47 ballots – if mailed and postmarked by the Friday before the election – could sway the election results.

On Monday morning, Hara said it might be even longer because the city must wait until all of the mail comes in to City Hall and has been reviewed by election officials.

"In talking with (Shepard), she was thinking (Saturday) there is a possibility that it could happen today if they all came in the morning mail," Hara said, "but absent that it would probably be best to do (the ballot board count) in the morning."

Results still wouldn't be official for another week, until after a special called City Council meeting scheduled for 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 12.

Wade and Murphy are bidding to serve the remaining two years of Kasha Williams' term. Williams is resigning as District 3 councilwoman to run for the Democratic nomination for Gregg County Precinct 4 commissioner, and will step down from Longview City Council once an official successor is elected.

Wade has accumulated 53.4 percent of the already counted ballots compared to Murphy's 46.6 percent.



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