Ruthart vs. Skidmore

Alan Skidmore will face Rick Ruthart in a primary runoff race in May for Lamar County Pct. 1 Commissioner. 

Although Gov. Greg Abbott pushed primary runoff election dates from May 26 to July 14, not much else is expected to change.

“As far as finding workers for the runoff, that’s not a problem,” Lamar County Election Administrator Tricia Johnson said. “We’ve got retired people always ready to work. Maybe by July this will be over ... big maybe.”

Runoff elections are always easier than primary or main elections, she said.

“Runoffs don’t require a lot of people working since those elections are slower, and only one location for early voting and for election day,” Johnson said.

Paris ISD’s sole contested race is no longer contested after Place 4 incumbent Danny Hooten dropped out of the race. That leaves the seat open for former seat holder Mihir Pankaj, owner of Hampton Inn and Days Inn, and member of the Paris Economic Development Corp. Hooten didn’t drop out of the race until after the deadline, meaning the election should go on, but Johnson said she found a state rule that if ballots hadn’t been printed, the election could be waived.

“We were sent an election code to show you do not have to have an election since there is no one to ‘elect’ now,” Johnson said.

In Lamar County, there is only one runoff election set — between Alan Skidmore and Rick Ruthart over the position of County Commissioner for Precinct 1, currently held by Lawrence Malone. The election delay also means Malone’s time as commissioner has been extended until the election can take place.

Right now, Johnson said she and her staff are doing all they can to work from home. The Lamar County Courthouse Annex building, which also houses the veterans office, the tax assessor/collector, emergency services coordinator’s office and several more, is closed to the public.

“We ... have a sign outside that gives information on how to get in contact with us,” she said. “We have taken a few days off, but there are still things we can do at work.”

With the coronavirus pandemic, some of the electorate around the country have called for moving to ballot by mail to keep everyone at home.

“I have heard of other states going to all mail ballots for their upcoming elections, but it hasn’t been mentioned to any of us yet,” Johnson said. “And hopefully by November this will all have passed.”

Kim Cox is the city editor for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965 or at kim.cox@theparisnews.com.

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