By JUDY SHERIDAN
Parker County Commissioner Dusty Renfro officially withdrew from the runoff election for Precinct 4 commissioner Sunday, March 9, apparently handing his job to the candidate he’s backed since December: Precinct 4 foreman Steve Dugan.
Renfro submitted his certificate of withdrawal to Parker County Republican Chair Zan Prince. The Texas Election Code 172.059 allows withdrawal prior to 5 p.m. of the 10th day following the general primary election.
The code states that if a runoff candidate withdraws, the remaining candidate is the nominee, and the election is not held.
Dugan drew 48 percent of the vote in the March 4 Republican primary, compared with Renfro’s 33 percent and Fred Hammons’ 19 percent, setting up the runoff.
There is no Democratic candidate.
“I was afraid I might win,” said Renfro, when asked if he was surprised by the 1,213 votes he received while actively campaigning for Dugan. “We’ve done a good job; that’s why.”
Renfro, who filed for re-election early, tried to take his name off the ballot after Dugan filed but was prevented from doing so by a new state law.
He then publicly supported Dugan, endorsing him at meet-and-greet events and “knocking on hundreds of doors.”
“Steve deserves this opportunity,” Renfro said. “He’s been at this precinct almost 30 years, and there’s no one that’s better qualified. I’ve consulted him on court decisions, and he’s always given me good conservative Christian advice.
“It’s never been a career for me. It’s been public service.”
Renfro, who is finishing his first term on the court, said his career has suffered from his time constraints as a commissioner.
“The opportunity cost is very high for a commercial real estate developer,” he said. “I need to go back and get re-focused.”
Renfro listed obtaining the right-of-way for the Airport Road bridge — after a longtime impasse — and reducing Precinct 4’s budget by 17 percent during his first year as accomplishments.
“We’ve kept a careful eye on the general fund budget and what’s going on in the county to make sure we’re on a conservative path,” he said. “It’s been a [Precinct 4] team effort.”
Renfro would like to see improvements made to the Jenkins Road cattle guard bridge — now up for bids — as well as to the highly-traveled Bankhead Highway in the remaining months of his term. He intends to keep pushing for a less costly take-home vehicle policy for county employees.
From an insider’s point of view, the county could do just as good a job with fewer employees, less equipment and a unitized roadway system, Renfro said, with jobs delegated from a central construction point.
“We need to stop worrying about politics and worry about what’s best for Parker County,” he said. “We need professionals, not career politicians.”
Dugan said he is glad to put the runoff behind him.
“On election night I still would have liked to have had that other two percent,” he said. “Renfro made no bones about saying he was ready to go somewhere else.”
Dugan said he appreciates all the support the community has given him.
“It should feel like my birthday,” he said. “Maybe in November or December I’ll start feeling it more. Right now it’s good to be done campaigning and get back to work.”