FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Election Day is over, but the race for Tarrant County’s top law enforcement officer has not ended yet. But Super Tuesday left one unanswered question in North Texas: who will be the next sheriff of Tarrant County?
The winner in the contest for Tarrant County Sheriff needed to claim 50-percent plus one vote in order to avoid heading into a runoff.
But, with all precincts reporting by Wednesday morning, Sheriff Dee Anderson missed that mark by less than two percentage points. He had started out strong, however, as the night went on, the votes became more evened out.
With the campaign continuing, the sheriff says his campaign will not slow down.“You really just try to keep your people motivated, try to get people out. It’s very easy for people to not vote in a runoff, so the challenge is getting people to return to the polls when there’s not all those [other] elections on the ballot.”
Anderson is running for his fifth and self-proclaimed final term as Tarrant County Sheriff.
The race was expected to be a close one. Anderson’s challenger, former Dalworthington Gardens police chief Bill Waybourn, had collected a number of big name endorsements coming into the primary, including one from former Governor Rick Perry. Some even favored him to win.
Waybourn suspects that Anderson’s high profile during the Ethan Couch case may have affected the results. “All of that was all variables that brought some of that attention to us,” he stated, “but I think the presidential race was just overwhelmingly what brought all these people out.”
Anderson ended with just over 83,000 votes (slightly under 49 percent), while Waybourn received just under 70,000 votes (almost 41 percent). Both men will now step up their campaigns. “We will be prepared to run the runoff,” Anderson said. “It’s a long 12-week run between the primary and the runoff. There’s a lot of work that will have to be done, if need be, but I’m very encouraged.”
The runoff will take place in May. And with no Democrat in the running for Tarrant County Sheriff this year, whoever wins the Republican primary runoff will then take the office.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)