Voters in Precinct 3 have reelected Terry Phillips to a second term in a nail-biter by 69 votes, according to complete but unofficial totals from Tuesday's Republican runoff.
Phillips bested challenger Ronnie Pilcher with 3,510 votes, or 50.50 percent, to 3,441, or 49.50 percent.
Precinct 3 covers the northern half of Smith County, including Lindale, Winona, Hide-away-Lake and portions of Overton and Tyler.
Phillips, 55, said he “got the message” from precinct voters but stopped short of changing his conservative ways.
“There's a message in the fact that it was such a close race,” he said. “I want to make myself more available to the entire precinct, but I will not turn away from my conservative track record.”
Phillips said the county has made strides with regard to saving taxpayer money, and he will continue to make tough, unpopular decisions to keep the county on track.
Pilcher, 45, of Winona, said he was surprised by the result. He said he ran because he felt portions of the precinct were not represented.
“I gave him a run for his money,” he said. “I just felt compelled to run. I hope he did get the message. We just felt like what we were saying fell on deaf ears.”
In the race for Constable Precinct 3, Jimmie Blackmon, a Bullard police officer and former Precinct 3 deputy constable, defeated Scott McAuley with 3,631 votes, or 56.03 percent, to 2,849 votes, or 43.97 percent.
Blackmon has lived in the precinct for more than 37 years and wants to transition his working relationship within its communities into the constable office.
He said working as a deputy constable gave him an understanding of the office and its required services. Maintaining high professional standards and a fiscally responsible office will be his top priorities, he said.
Blackmon will take over for outgoing constable Dustin Rust, who finished last in the May primaries amid a field of four candidates.
Rust was indicted in April on multiple counts of felony abuse of official capacity, one felony count of theft by a public servant and 10 counts of operating a security company without a license.
There were no Democratic candidates in the Precinct 3 constable or commissioner's races.