King is Johnson County's new sheriff
Adam King was the overwhelming choice to become the 32nd Johnson County sheriff.
The STOP Task Force commander gathered 4,446 of 6,878 votes, or 64.6 percent, to defeat Mike Powell, the chief deputy of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, in a Republican Party runoff election. Powell earned 2,432 votes.
"I'm not sure my phone has ever received this many calls," King said, moments after the final returns were released. "I came up short in the primary, I was second. I think that fired up my supporters to help get me elected. Some of them haven't taken a day off since February."
King lost to Powell by 954 votes, but qualified for the runoff. Then he got the support of James Saulter, who finished third with 3,330 votes.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity the citizens have given me to be the next sheriff," King said. "I promise to work hard for all of them."
Sheriff Bob Alford will retire after having served five terms in office, ranking as the longest tenured sherif in Johnson County's storied history. King will be sworn into office at midnight Jan. 1, 2017.
King held a fairly decisive 1,192-vote lead after early voting was tabulated. When he expanded that margin to 1,825 votes with about 15 precincts remaining to report, Powell said that knew he couldn't close the difference.
"I thought Adam's supporters rallied and really worked hard," Powell said. "I'm also prude of the campaign we ran and thankful for the work of my supporters. We know the Lord still has plans for us."
With about seven months to prepare to take the office, King will commit full time to preparation. He plans to retire from his position with the STOP Task Force and begin to tour other county jails and sheriff's offices, while also attending commissioner's court meetings.
"I want to hit the ground running," he said. "I want to take advantage of this opportunity I have."
While the position pays a salary, King said those who are elected serve for reasons other than pay.
"A vote of confidence like this is better than any paycheck I could receive," King said. "I feel I got paid tonight by the confidence the voters showed in me."
In the only other contested Johnson County race, Brenda Gammon earned 104 of 172 votes cast for the Republican Party Precinct 12 chair position. Don Wilson gathered 56 votes.
Johnson County Republicans also weighed in on three statewide runoff elections. Wayne Christian earned 50.8 percent of the statewide vote to defeat Gary Gates for railroad commissioner. Mary Lou Keel took 50.9 percent of the statewide vote to defeat Ray Wheless in the court of criminal appeals Place 2 judge race. Scott Walker gathered 57.9 percent of the statewide vote to defeat Brent Webster in the court of criminal appeals Place 5 judge race. Johnson County gave Gates a majority support, but supported winners Keel and Walker.
In the Democratic Party runoff, Grady Yarbrough earned 53.9 percent of the statewide vote to defeat Cody Garrett for the party's railroad commissioner nomination. Yarbrough will meet Christian in the Nov. 8 general election.