|Millsap, Smith, Watson claim victory in county races|
|Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor & Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Nov. 8, 2006 - Hopkins County Democrats made a clean sweep in local races, capturing three contested battles for county offices.
Incumbent Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap and Hopkins County Court-At-Law Judge Amy Smith both easily won their re-election bids, while Democratic nominee Treva Watson narrowly defeated Republican nominee Cheryl Fulcher for county treasurer in the closest of the local contests.
Just 425 votes separated the two, with Watson, the assistant county auditor, tallying 4,369 (52.56 percent) to 3,944 (47.44 percent) for Fulcher, the coordinator for the Eighth Judicial District Court. Watson will replace longtime Hopkins County Treasurer Betty Bassham, who announced last year she was retiring.
"Every box that came in, it could have gone either way," Watson said. "I certainly had a worthy opponent. It turned out well for us.
"I am grateful to the voters of Hopkins County and will continue to work for Hopkins County," Watson added. "As I have done in past years, I will continue doing the best job I know how. I know there's a lot of work to be done. I intend to do the best I can."
Fulcher graciously offered "sincere congratulations" to Watson, saying, "I know she will be a good treasurer for Hopkins County."
"I thank all the voters for supporting their candidates," Fulcher added.
The totals weren't as close in two other challenged races. Incumbent Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap won another term in office by carrying 61.56 percent of the vote to defeat Republican challenger Jason Cunningham. Millsap garnered 5,162 votes to Cunningham's 3,223.
"I knew it was going to be an uphill battle going against Cletis Millsap, a government official and an incumbent," said Cunningham, who started the race as a virtual unknown in Hopkins County. "From the time I came in in December we picked up 3300 votes, and I'm tickled to death with that.
"Cletis Millsap ran an honorable election. There was never any question there."
Millsap said he was "just very pleased the people of Hopkins County elected me."
"I thank all the people who voted for me," he said. "We will continue to grow, and I feel like they want to continue to curb the cost of government and keep the tax rate as low as possible.
"The county commissioners court is one of the most fiscally sound of surrounding area governments. I plan to continue to work with the commissioners and continue to plan for the quality of life and adjustments for an infusion of growth for the future."
Cunningham did not rule out another run for office in the future.
"Not to be a cliche, but I will be back," he said. "I lost the first one, but this is my first time out. I can't say enough about the people who supported and voted for me. I would have much rather won, we could have made changes. But we had a good time. I met a whole lot of people. They made a choice, but at least they had one to choose."
Hopkins County Court-At-Law Judge Amy Smith also won re-election. The incumbent Democrat received 4,907 votes (58.76 percent) to Eddie Northcutt's 3,444 (41.24 percent).
"I would like to thank all the wonderful people who supported me by giving of their time, contributions and prayers, and of course, those that voted for me," Smith said. "Mr. Northcutt has wished me the best, and I wish him the same. I believe we both ran a race we can be proud of. It was clean and dignified. The response I have gotten from the people of Hopkins County has been incredible."
Northcutt said he was happy for Amy Smith and "totally at peace with the outcome of the election."
"My sincere prayer all along has been that God's will is done," he said. "I haven't said, and in no way suggest, that the judge is inadequate. She's a good judge. I've said that.
"Before[in previous elections] we've never known if she's truly the person Hopkins County would select because she was unopposed," Northcutt said. "Now we know. She's a worthy candidate and completely qualified."
Smith said she was looking forward to her return to office.
"I can't wait to get back to work, because now I know the people of Hopkins County are behind me and that's a wonderful feeling," Smith said. "We have so much to be thankful for in our community, and I am blessed to play a part in keeping the values we hold so dear."
Six other incumbent Democrats seeking a return to office were unopposed in their races: District Clerk Patricia Dorner, County Clerk Debbie Shirley, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Burke Bullock, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Danny Evans, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne Miller King and Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup.