Two GOP candidates break 145-year run by Dems in Jefferson County

Marilyn Tennissen Nov. 3, 2010, 9:28am


While the rest of the Lone Star State has been supporting Republican candidates for many years, local politics in Jefferson County has long been the domain of Democrats -- but that began to change on Tuesday.

On Nov. 2, voters flipped two countywide offices from blue to red.

Shane Howard, former chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party, grabbed what some saw as a surprise victory from Democrat Thomas Sigee to win the office of county Tax Assessor/Collector. That post had been held for 25 years by Democrat Miriam Johnson, who retired earlier this year.

Howard earned 29,677 votes on Election Day, which accounted for 55.26 percent of the ballots cast. Sigee, a collections officer in the Jefferson County auditing department, received about 5,000 fewer votes, for 44.74 percent of the ballots cast.

Howard, a Port Arthur native and a U.S. Air Force veteran of Desert Storm, has a master's degree in business from Lamar University and a background in insurance and risk management.

The office Jefferson County Treasurer is also now held by a Republican. Beaumont banker Tim Funchess earned 29,669 votes, or 55.04 percent of votes cast.

His Democratic opponent, Georgine Guillory fared about as well as Sigee did in his race, with the businesswoman earning 44.96 percent of the votes.

Funchess willl replace Linda Robinson, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

It is the first time since 1865 that both the tax assessor/collector and the treasurer's seat in Jefferson County were won by Republicans.

Although not a countywide office, another closely watched contest was for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 2, a seat held since 1987 by Democrat Vi McGinnis, who will retire at the end of her term this year.

Republican and Beaumont City Council member Nancy Beaulieu will take over that office after receiving 58.85 percent of the ballots. Attorney Anne Bradley, a Democrat, was nearly 20 percentage points behind Beaulieu, earning 51.15 percent of the votes.

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