Lubbock's next county judge wasn't decided Tuesday — the Republican primary for that seat is heading to a runoff.
Lubbock County's unofficial final election results after Tuesday's primary showed Former Lubbock City Councilman and retired business owner Gary Boren coming out on top of the three-way race with nearly 48 percent of the vote, and attorney Curtis Parrish finishing second with 31 percent. But no candidate got more than 50 percent, so it's headed to a runoff on May 22.
"This was extremely tough — two tough opponents, and to be on top where I'm at, I'm very pleased," Boren said when the votes started coming in Tuesday evening. "What I'm fascinated by is that the winds have changed in Lubbock County, and the citizens of Lubbock County are looking for change ... The message we all have shared is stop the commissioners from raising their own salaries, that appraisals and taxes are hitting homeowners pretty big, and supporting our sheriff."
Councilwoman Karen Gibson is not making the runoff as she received only 22 percent of the vote.
A total of 21,618 people cast a ballot in this race. The state as a whole saw increased voter turnout, especially in the Democratic Primary, but Lubbock County's voter participation remained low. About 17 percent of registered voters showed up this primary season.
Of those total ballots in Lubbock County, 22,656 were cast in the Republican primary and 5,983 in the Democratic primary.
The bulk of the contested local races were on the Republican side. Apart from the race for Lubbock County Judge, voters in Lubbock cast ballots for County Commissioners in Precincts 2 and 4, and a few judge races. The only local contested race for Lubbock County Democrats was for Texas House District 84.
There were more uncontested races — U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington and State Reps. John Frullo and Dustin Burrows didn't draw primary challengers. Arrington's Democrat challenger, Miguel Levario, and Burrow's challenger for HD 83, Drew Landry, went uncontested in the primary as well. Democrats for Lubbock County Commissioner in Pct. 4 T.G. Caraway and and Pct. 2 Nick Harpster also went unchallenged.
Candidates from these two parties will square off in November.
The race for county judge will be decided this primary because only Republicans are running and the winner will go unopposed in November.
Parrish's family was huddled around a computer as the numbers started coming in, and Parrish was shaking hands with his supporters. He said he ran a credible campaign and will continue to do so in the runoff.
"We believe we ran a great race and are still going to run a great race, because it's not over yet," Parrish said. "The end goal is always to win, but really, the goal we set out from the beginning was to run a race that was honorable and would elevate the office of county judge. To that end, I think we've been more than successful."
Parrish, as he's done throughout the campaign, said his law background makes him uniquely qualified for the position that is largely judicial. He said he'll hammer that point, as well as his conservative background, in the runoff between the former councilman.
"My plan is to provide leadership and vision to the commissioner's court," Parrish said. "Our message still is — we believe this job is 75 percent judicial... I believe it's fiscally irresponsible to say 'vote for me, elect me for county judge,' and then pawn that job off to somebody else."
With the two challengers who just unseated long-time county commissioners in the Republican primary, Boren said there's a change going on in Lubbock County.
"If I get there, there will be major change," Boren said. "It'll be a change that's heard throughout the state of Texas."