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Smith County Races

Smith County Commissioner Precinct 1


Commissioner Warr has no primary challenger; no Democrat challenger in November. 

Jeff Warr (incumbent)        No web site listed

Smith County Commissioner Precinct 3

The job of the county commissioner calls for hands-on service delivery, as well as policy-making decisions regarding the administration of county government. Four commissioners, each elected from a quarter of the county’s population, serve along with the county judge on the commissioners court. The commissioners court is responsible for building and maintaining the roads and bridges of the county. In Smith County, rural county CR road and bridge maintenance (not FM or Farm-to-Market roads, which are maintained by TxDOT) is  centralized under a unit road system. This means the budget priorities for  county rural road, bridge, and right-of-way maintenance is decided by the entire commissioners court — not a single commissioner. Under the unit road system statutes, a county commissioner in Smith County does not have the statutory authority to dictate the day-to-day work of the Road & Bridge Department. 

The commissioners court has the responsibility to adopt the budget and set the tax rate sufficient to fund the personnel, equipment and infrastructure necessary to deliver the services provided by the county. Typically, the commissioners court is responsible for conducting business on behalf of the county, and only the commissioners court can enter into contracts on behalf of the county.

County government’s operations are often tailored to meet the needs and resources of the community, so the programs overseen by the commissioners court may vary from county to county. In a typical county, the commissioners court also establishes precinct boundaries for commissioners, constables, and justices of the peace; determines the number and type of county employees and their compensation; acquires property for rights of way or other public uses; adopts and enforces subdivision regulations; provides rural ambulance services; appoints members of the Emergency Services District Board of Commissioners; and supervises, controls, and maintains the county courthouse and other county buildings and facilities.[Source:  Texas Association of Counties and Local Government Code]

Seven of nine Grassroots America Board Members voted to endorse ## Terry Phillips for re-election to Precinct 3 County Commissioner.

Of all the candidates, Terry Phillips has a much better understanding of county government operations. That experience is important to keep at a time when another tough budget is clearly ahead; however, we can certainly understand the concerns the challenger candidates have about the Road and Bridge budget and the condition of county roads.  Today, Smith County is no closer to having a long-range rural transportation plan than it was ten years ago.  Smith County desperately needs to assess the system of county roads to determine which ones are due rebuilding and upgrading because of increased population density and the resulting traffic.  If all the county roads in Smith County were stretched end to end, connecting the center lines, the miles would stretch all the way from the courthouse to Buffalo, New York.   That is one big transportation system — especially when the right of ways and bridges are added. We also urge Commissioner Phillips to champion bringing back the department business plans and updating the County’s master Roadmap Business Plan. Now that the new jail is under way, it’s time to move the county forward on other fronts.  The only way to do that is if the Commissioners Court develops its own Business Plan and identifies its own time-lined goals for the next fiscal year.  We urge Commissioner Phillips to take the lead on the next step forward.


Ronnie Pilcher     

Jimmy Hawley               No web site listed

Ed Watts            

## Terry Phillips (incumbent)    No web site listed

Video from GAWTP Candidate Forum

Smith County Constable Races


Constables are certified peace officers and, along with their deputies, have all the enforcement powers of any other peace officers and often participate actively in criminal investigations. In many communities, constables focus on truancy cases. Not only does a constable perform traditional law enforcement functions, the constable also serves as bailiff for the justice courts, serves subpoenas and civil process and plays an important role in making sure the judgments rendered in civil cases are satisfied. The constable also has duties related to keeping accounts of the financial transactions of the office and is responsible for property seized or money collected by court order.

As with all elected county officials, the constable has ultimate authority over the operations of the office, including the authority to hire and fire personnel and direct their daily activities. The constable also has authority to determine how to use all other resources allocated to the office during the budget process. A constable does not have the authority to sign contracts for the county.  Only the Commissioners Court has the statutory authority to enter into contracts regarding county taxpayer assets and funds. [Source:  Texas Association of Counties; Local Government Code]


Constable Precinct 2


Grassroots America’s Board cast 7 of 9 votes to endorse ## Constable Andy Dunklin for re-election.  Constable Dunklin has served Precinct 2 well by working to build a good relationship with other law enforcement.  Dunklin made it possible for DPS and Sheriff’s deputies to access an office during off hours and on weekends so they would have a place to prepare reports and conduct necessary business while out on patrol.  Dunklin and his staff have worked hard to update the office procedures and appear to manage the department’s budget well.  There have been no “dust ups” between Constable Dunklin and the Commissioners Court and between the Constable and Justice of the Peace Alfred.  We believe Constable Dunklin has earned re-election.


## Andy Dunklin (incumbent)     No web site listed 

James Lee


Constable Precinct 3


Grassroots America’s Board cast 7 of 9 votes to endorse ## Scott McAuley for Precinct 3 Constable. Mr. McAuley’s more than two decades of service as Arp’s  Police Chief speaks of his leadership talents and his ability to get along with numerous city council members and mayors.  He is well-qualified, certified, and trained as a law enforcement officer and apparently can handle a budget. We believe McAuley will be a stabilizing influence in the Constable’s office and believe he has the determination and temperament to build an effective team to serve the community and the Justice of the Peace Court.  We also believe he will be able to build a healthy relationship of mutual respect with the Commissioners Court.


Bob Overman  

Jim Blackmon  

Dustin Rust (incumbent)

## Scott McAuley 


Constable Precinct 4

No primary challenger for Constable John G Smith (incumbent)  No web site listed

Constable Precinct 5 

Grassroots America’s Board cast 7 of 9 votes to endorse ## Kenneth Bibby for Precinct 5 Constable.  Officer Bibby has 31 years of law enforcement, beginning with the Smith County Sheriff’s Department, followed by retirement from Texas DPS, through his current service as a Deputy Constable.  Officer Bibby is known as a conscientious leader.  We believe he has workable ideas to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Constable Precinct 5 Office.  We also believe Officer Bibby possesses the temperament, core values, and management skills to lead with integrity and to execute his responsibilities in a wise and judicious manner.  We strongly urge voter support for Kenneth Bibby.


## Kenneth Bibby    

Dennis Taylor (incumbent)


Smith County Sheriff


Grassroots America is pleased to announce that by a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors, ## Larry Smith received the organization’s endorsement.


Bobby Garmon

Chris V. Green

Donn Rust     

## Larry R. Smith


Read the GAWTP Endorsement:  Why we endorsed Larry Smith

False Allegations – Sheriff’s Race

Green has repeatedly made false charges against Larry Smith as “someone who spent a career taking firearms away from people…”  See CBS 19/TMT debate, short clip contains this quote:

Green has publicly stated several times that Smith was not a key investigator on the Cobb murder case. For example, when referring to the Cobb murder investigation at New Harmony (Newton Anderson conviction), Green retorts, “I’ve talked to an individual – we’ve talked about the New Harmony homicide alot …Bobby even says he doesn’t remember Larry on that case…I’ve talked to an individual who was the investigating officer on that homicide case that never even met Larry until he started running for Sheriff…” See GAWTP forum at point 30:32 on this You Tube Audio link:


Video from GAWTP Sheriff’s Race Candidate Forums
#1 with all candidates

#2 Law Enforcement Forum Moderated by Retired Tyler PD Captain Bob Bond; candidates Garmon & Rust could not attend


District Judge, 7th Judicial District (local court)

Kerry L. Russell (incumbent)
No primary challenger; no challenger in November General Election


District Judge, 114th Judicial District (local)

 Christi Kennedy (incumbent)
No primary challenger; no challenger in November General Election


County Tax Assessor-Collector

Gary B. Barber (incumbent)
No primary challenger; no challenger in November General Election


Republican Party County Chairman

J. Ashton Oravetz, III (incumbent)
No primary challenger; this is a Republican Party position; therefore, there would be no challenger in November.