Ellis, Patterson head to runoff; Clark remains on bench

Published on Wednesday, 5 March 2014 00:00 - Written by KELLY GOOCH kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Jason Ellis and Mike Patterson will face each other in a May 27 runoff election for the Smith County Court at Law judge seat, and a longtime incumbent judge will keep her position, according to incomplete and unofficial results released Tuesday night.

Certified public accountant and attorney John Jarvis, 46, lost to longtime incumbent Judge Carole Clark for the 321st District Court.

With 33 of 73 precincts reporting, Patterson, 63, received 6,571 votes, or 43.5 percent, while Ellis, 31, received 4,341 votes, or 28.7 percent, according to incomplete and unofficial results released Tuesday night. The two other candidates — attorney Jim Huggler, 44, and attorney Brent Ratekin, 46 — received 3,449 votes, or 22.8 percent, and 755 votes, or 5 percent, respectively.

Judge Clark received 10,483 votes, or 64.8 percent, while Jarvis received 5,695 votes, or 35.2 percent, according to incomplete and unofficial results.

Ellis, who runs his own practice downtown, said on election night he has always planned to get into the runoff.

He said he and Patterson are “very different candidates,” and one thing that sets him apart is that Patterson no longer practices criminal law.

“I’m very much looking forward to this race,” Ellis said.

Patterson, who has been a mediator in 2,000 legal cases in the area, thanked those who have helped and supported him.

“It’s been a wonderful experience. It’s been kind of overwhelming really,” he said.

A graduate of the Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, Ellis worked for the Smith County district attorney’s office for 18 months where he worked misdemeanor cases such as DWI and domestic abuse.

Patterson, who served as a prosecutor in Dallas and Smith counties before he went into his practice, has tried criminal and civil cases and mediated cases including multimillion dollar patent actions.

Judge Clark could not be reached for comment by phone Tuesday night.

Jarvis, a Tyler native who has practiced law here 17 years, said, “I just think we ran a good race. We tried to get our message out. We tried to show there is need for a change in the court.”

Judge Clark has served as judge for 15 years and handles family court cases such as divorces, child custody matters and removals when there is alleged neglect or abuse.

Early voting for a runoff election would be May 19 to 23.


Staff Writers Kenneth Dean and Betty Waters contributed to this report.