Incumbents ousted in city-school voting

Ward defeats Soto in MISD Place 5; Hammonds, Gardner advance to June runoff as Miller falls short

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Jessica Ward

Midlothian incumbents who were facing challenges had a tough time in Saturday’s joint city-school board election.

An electorate eager for change let their voices be heard at the ballot box on Saturday. Challenger Jessica Ward defeated Midlothian ISD board of trustees incumbent Bobby Soto, and Anna Hammonds and Ed Gardner surpassed Mayor Pro Tem Ted Miller to advance to a June 18 runoff for the Place 3 City Council seat.

In unofficial returns as of 9:24 p.m. Saturday, with all 18 polling locations reporting, Ward had 1,806 votes, or 53.04%, to 1,599 for Soto, who was seeking re-election to his second term in Place 5.

“Midlothian, I’m grateful for everyone who cast their voice for me,” Ward posted on Facebook after the victory. "I’m humbled and honored to be your new MISD School Board Place 5 Trustee and I promise to always be the best servant possible for our district. From my whole heart, Midlothian, I thank you!  I look forward to getting to work quickly!”

Mike Dillow

In the open MISD Place 4 race, Mike Dillow claimed a decisive election victory. Dillow had 2,112 votes, or 57.83%, to 1,540 votes for Whitney Krupala. Helping push Dillow over the top was an endorsement by Texas House Rep. Brian Harrison, who resides in MISD.

Harrison issued the following statement after Dillow’s victory: “As an MISD parent, I am thrilled Mike Dillow will be joining the school board and am proud to have helped propel him to such an overwhelming victory. I look forward to working with Mike to put our children’s education first, empower parents with full transparency, support teachers, lower taxes, fight the liberal special interests, and keep CRT out of our schools.” 

Both Ward and Dillow will be sworn in and seated on the MISD board once the results are canvassed and certified. Dillow will replace Matt Sanders, who did not file for re-election.

Anna Hammonds

In the four-way City Council Place 3 race, Hammonds had a plurality of votes, with Miller coming up short in a very close race against Gardner to make the runoff. Hammonds had 969 votes or 36.18%, while Gardner led Miller for second place by 23 votes, 675 to 652. Dannion McLendon was fourth with 382 votes.

“I’m so appreciative to all the guys for the clean race we all ran,” Hammonds posted after the results were final. “I’m also terribly appreciative and humbled by the supporters. Thank you so much for coming out and voting! Now I just need you all to come BACK out for the runoff race on June 18!”

Ed Gardner

Miller received three more votes than Gardner in early voting totals, but Gardner made up the difference and then some in same-day voting.

In 2018, Miller was defeated by the late Art Pierard in his bid for re-election to the City Council, but Miller ran for a different seat a year later and won a place back.

Place 4 councilmember Clark Wickliffe was unopposed for re-election and will serve another three-year term.

Also on Saturday, both constitutional amendments referred to voters by the 87th Texas Legislature passed overwhelmingly, as expected.

Proposition 1, which would allow the Legislature to reduce limitations on school property homestead taxes for the elderly and disabled, received 86.20% of votes in the affirmative in Ellis County. Proposition 2, which raises the homestead property tax exemption from $25,000 to $40,000, received 85.80% of votes in favor.