— By DAVID MAY
Running for an office that counts money, Parker County Treasurer candidate Dedra Vick might still be counting votes today.
According to final, but unofficial, county election returns, Vick came up 95 votes short to Jenny Barnwell in the county’s Republican primary, 5,878 to 5,783. Parker County elections officials say there are just six ballots out – not nearly enough for Vick to make up the difference.
“I’ve never been so glad for a night to end,” Barnwell said afterward. “I was really surprised it was this close, but I’m glad because I have a lot of things I want to get done for the betterment of the whole community.”
Vick said she was proud of her campaign and, at present, has no thoughts of requesting a recount.
"We ran a great campaign and I can be proud of the ethical way it was run," Vick said. "I have no regrets, and I gave it my all. We worked hard and it was a close race. Thank you to the voters, supporters and friends who helped in the last few months. I have no idea about a recount, that has never even been talked about to me. I will be getting in touch with Jenny today to congratulate her. Thank you Parker County voters."
The race figured to be close between Barnwell, who was appointed interim treasurer last May following the death of treasurer Jim Thorp. Barnwell, 61, has worked for the county since 2009 and worked in the county clerk’s office prior to her appointment as treasurer. But her appointment was not unanimous among Commissioner’s Court, with County Judge Mark Riley opposed to her appointment, despite her investments and business education background and experience.
The court in recent weeks delayed discussion and action on Barnwell’s proposed county investments policy.
Vick, currently an evidence technician, relied on her experience of owning and operating a business and a large circle of friends and supporters.
There is no Democratic challenger for the seat.
Jeane Brunson, meanwhile, held off a challenge from within her own office to win re-election as Parker County Clerk. Paula Durant, an administrative assistant to Brunson, lost as Brunson registered 58 percent of the Republican primary vote to 42 percent for Durant. There is no Democratic challenger for the seat.
“I’m excited,” Brunson said. “It’s been a challenging few months for everyone involved. I’m ready to get back to work, as are my employees.”
“I’d like to thank everyone in Parker County who supported me,” Brunson added.
Durant said she enjoyed the experience and plans to run for office again.
“I am so proud of the race I ran and I am overwhelmed at the support,” Durant said. “I enjoyed so much the experience and I will do it again.”
As to whether she thinks she will keep her job in the county clerk’s office, Durant said, “It is up to her. It is kind of unprecedented. No one in Parker County has ever run against their boss again. We will see. I hope by holding her feet to the fire it will make her and make (other officeholders) more accountable. I am fully prepared for whatever happens.”
Results are final but unofficial pending a canvass of the returns by county commissioners.