Joe Gallo has been elected as the Republican nominee — and de facto winner — of the new judgeship in Ellis County Court at Law No. 3.
In the unofficial final voting tabulation that was released at about 11 p.m. Tuesday night, Gallo had 13,438 total votes, or 62.96 percent, to 7,906 votes for Vance Hinds, according to the Ellis County Elections website. Gallo's victory was broad-based as he carried every precinct in the county.
Attempts to contact Gallo for reaction were not immediately successful.
Because no one filed to run in the Democratic primary for the seat, Gallo will not be opposed in the Nov. 3 general election and will assume the bench in the new courtroom when it convenes for the first time in January 2021.
Gallo, a former Waxahachie city council member, has been active in the city’s civic affairs as well as politics, with past memberships in Waxahachie’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Board and leadership in the Waxahachie Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. In addition to private law practice, Gallo served as Waxahachie municipal judge for five years.
In a candidate forum at the Midlothian Conference Center on Feb. 6, Gallo touted his well-rounded experience in all aspects of law as his qualification.
“My entire legal career has been practicing criminal law,” Gallo said. “I’ve been a prosecutor, I’ve been a defense attorney, and I’ve been a judge for the criminal court for the city of Waxahachie. It’s the only thing I enjoy. If the court had other matters, I wouldn’t be interested.”
Hinds has been an attorney for 26 years and has worked in the prosecutor’s office for seven years. His family has deep roots in Ellis County, and Hinds said both his father and brother are lawyers.
“This is my home and where I want to be,” Hinds said at the same forum. “All of my kids graduated from Waxahachie High School, my nephews and nieces graduated from (there) and I graduated from Waxahachie High School. I’m really excited to give back to the community and possibly serve as the first administrator of this court.”
Hinds also mentioned his recent weight loss journey in which he lost more than 200 pounds.
Both candidates said at the February forum that the backlog of cases is the biggest problem in Ellis County’s courts — which was the reason why the new court was created. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” Gallo said.