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Carroll’s two-step tops 2020 election filings


Last updated 11/26/2019 at Noon

Dave Rogers

For The Record

If you believe his Facebook page and Beaumont news reports, Vidor Police Chief Rod Carroll put his right foot in Monday.

But by midday Tuesday, he took his right foot out.

His Facebook page, “Rod Carroll For Sheriff” said Tuesday night he had done a 180 on “planning to announce plans” to run for Jefferson County Sheriff.

“Due to a residency technicality, I feel it is best that I withdraw from the race for Sheriff for Jefferson County 2020,” the Rod Carroll For Sheriff website said Tuesday afternoon.

Carroll’s reversal tops the list of Orange County happenings as current county officials and new candidates file with the Republican Party for a spot on the March 3 primary election ballot.

David Covey, county Republican Party chair, reported Monday night he had received applications from more than a dozen candidates with the deadline for filing paperwork and paying entry fees coming up Dec. 9.

Carroll was getting set to enter the Jefferson County Republican primary.

According to a Monday news release, the former Chief Deputy of Jefferson County was “preparing to formally announce his candidacy as the Republican candidate” on Dec. 3.

The same message was on his Facebook page Tuesday morning.

That would have amounted to a double flip.

The son-in-law of longtime Democratic Congressman Jack Brooks, Carroll ran for Jefferson County Sheriff in 2016 as a Democrat.

His title was Chief Deputy Sheriff and he had the backing of retiring Sheriff Mitch Woods in 2016, but finished third in the Democratic primary, behind former Sheriff deputies Zena Stephens and Joe Stevenson. Stephens won office by beating Stevenson in a primary runoff and Republican Ray Beck in the general election.

The other flip is that Carroll has been working in Orange county since Jan. 2017. He told newsmen his house in Vidor flooded two months ago, during Tropical Storm Imelda.

Stephen Chang, Director of Communications for the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, confirmed Tuesday that state law says candidates for sheriff must reside in the county for at least six months prior to when they intend to run.

Tuesday night, Carroll told the Record Newspapers he believed he technically met the residence requirement, as his primary residence for the past three years was in Beaumont.

“I owned the house for three years, but I was remodeling it,” and he lived in Vidor for much of 2019.

“I’m not a person to split technicalities,” he said. “Even the perception is not worth it to me.

“God has a better plan for me.”

Running for county office in Texas requires a candidate to file twice.

A candidate must designate a treasurer in paperwork filed with the county elections office before he/she can announce intention to run and begin to raise or spend campaign money. Then the candidate has to file and pay a filing fee to his/her political party.

Louis Ackerman, chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, said no candidates had filed with him as of Monday.

Incumbent John Gothia and Ernest Bayard, a Vidor blueberry farmer, have filed to be on the primary ballot for County Judge.

Rob Strause, a Sheriff deputy, has filed to run for Sheriff.

Courtney Arkeen, Judge of the 128th District Court, has filed for reelection, while Orange lawyer Rex Peveto has filed for the 163rd District Court bench being vacated by retiring Judge Dennis Powell.

Incumbent Troy Johnson has filed for reelection as County Court At Law No. 2 Judge, Covey said.

John Kimbrough has filed for his eighth four-year term as County/District Attorney. Incumbent Karen Fisher has filed for another term as Tax Assessor-Collector.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Johnny Trahan has locked up his spot on the ballot as have current Precinct 3 Commissioner Kirk Roccaforte and first-time candidate Carl LeBlanc, contesting Roccaforte.

Lannie Claybar, in Precinct 1, is the only incumbent running for Constable. Jeremiah Gunter is running in Precinct 2, Brad Frye in Precinct 3, and Matt Ortego in Precinct 4.

County maintenance worker Jeff Young has filed with the county to run for county judge and attorney Michael Catt has done preliminary paperwork for the 163rd District judgeship. But Covey said neither had sealed the deal as of Monday.

Also, Mike Marion, assistant county attorney, filed with the county to run against Johnson for County Court At-Law No. 2 but not yet with the GOP. And Sam “Sambo” Carpenter, Jr. is taking on Frye for Precinct 3 Constable but has not filed with the GOP.

Chris Berry filed with the county for Precinct 2 Constable but is bowing out, putting his support to Gunter.

“I had pledged to run before I got flooded out by the storm [Tropical Storm Imelda],” he said. “But now I’m redoing my house and I can’t do a campaign.

“I am supporting Jeremiah now. He and I did SWAT training together and he’s a good man.”


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