By Valerie Fields Hill
Texas Metro News
Deborah Peoples, a businesswoman and former head of the Democratic Party, appeared headed toward a major victory over Arlington resident Marvin Sutton in the Democratic race for Tarrant County judge.
People’s won nearly 83 percent of the early and absentee vote, while Sutton, a former Arlington city councilman, won just 17 percent, according to unofficial election results.
“I am so excited,” Peoples said in a telephone interview shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday night.
By 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Tarrant County elections administrators had not posted same day vote tallies. It was unclear Tuesday night why the day’s balloting had not been made public on the office’s official website. A message on the site throughout the night read that officials would update Tuesday’s balloting results every 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, Peoples likely will face Republican Tim O’Hare. O’Hare was coasting to a surprise win over popular Tarrant County Republican Betsy Price, a former mayor of Fort Worth, who has rarely, if at all, lost a county race in recent memory.
O’Hare, a former chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party, tallied 57.6 percent of the early and absentee vote in the Republican primary to Price’s 34.8 percent, according to unofficial results.
The candidates are seeking to replace Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley who has served in the office for 15 years. Whitley was a county commissioner for 10 years before becoming county judge.
The Tarrant County judge leads the commissioners court, a board of elected officials which oversees county policy. The commissioners court is comprised of four commissioners along with the county judge.
In a brief speech Tuesday night on KTVT-CBS 11, O’Hare, appearing at an election party in Southlake, touted his pro-life, pro-business and limited government platform. He also said he supported limited interactions with public schools, presumably over mask mandates.
“We are now a model for how school districts should operate…all across America,” he said, apparently referencing school mask policies.
Price could not be reached late Tuesday for comment.
In a twist of fate, it was Price who beat Peoples in 2019 in Fort Worth’s mayoral race. Price chose not to run for reelection in 2021. Peoples again sought the mayor’s seat, but lost to Price’s top aide, Mattie Parker, whom Price had endorsed.
Peoples said Tuesday night she was hopeful to be headed to a November faceoff with O’Hare, a candidate whom she indicated offered a vastly different platform from her own.
“I am excited,” she said. “I’m excited that it’s really a clear race now between those who want to keep us divided and those who want to unify us.”
During the primaries, Peoples touted her belief in inclusive governance and job creation. A former vice president at a Fortune 500 company, Peoples was endorsed by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, American Youth for Climate Action and the Collective PAC.