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Commissioner Andy Nguyen easily defeats challenger

In the Precinct 2 Tarrant County commissioner Republican primary race, Arlington businessman Andy Nguyen easily defeated Arlington special education teacher H. Suzanne Kelley in his bid for a second term in office.

Nguyen, 47, earned 69.4 percent of the vote compared to Kelley’s 30.6 percent in complete but unofficial returns.

Nguyen campaigned on working for completion of major transportation projects, including plans to finish the southern stretch of Texas 360, finding funding for a direct connection between 360 and Interstate 30, and improving the interchange where Interstate 20, Loop 820 and U.S. 287 come together. Precinct 2 includes Arlington, Mansfield and Kennedale.

Kelley had said she was motivated to run by Nguyen’s involvement in a program to cut truancy that believes put more burdens on teachers. Kelley also questioned Nguyen’s support in the Vietnamese community, saying many were disillusioned with him as commissioner.

She circulated letters from Hung Thien Dang, chairman of the Heroes of South Vietnam Memorial Foundation, that said Nguyen did not follow through on promises to help get a Vietnam War Memorial built at Arlington Veterans Park.

Nguyen said Kelley’s assertions were “petty politics” and provided a letter signed by leaders of 13 local Vietnamese groups that took issue with Dang’s account. Nguyen said that he promised to raise money, but not $100,000 as Dang said, and that there was a disagreement within the Vietnamese community over the artist’s depiction of a Vietnamese soldier in the memorial.

The winner faces Democrat Kenneth Sanders in the November general election.

Local judicial races

In the GOP primary for the 297th District Court, David Hagerman, a Tarrant County assistant district attorney, had 60.6 percent of the vote and attorney Lex Johnston had 15.4 percent; Jay Lapham, a Wise County assistant district attorney, had 13.8 percent, and attorney Glynis Adams McGinty had 10.1 percent in complete but unofficial returns.

The winner will face attorney Gwinda Burns, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, in November. The current judge, Everett Young, decided not to run for re-election to the 297th, a felony-level court, but instead to run for a misdemeanor court.

231st state District Court

Jesse Nevarez Jr., the incumbent, who was appointed to the family law court in August by Gov. Rick Perry to complete the unexpired term of Randy Catterton, had 50.5 percent, and attorney John Clark had 49.5 percent in complete and unofficial returns. No Democrat is running.

432nd state District Court

With 50.8 percent of the vote, Judge Ruben Gonzalez narrowly defeated challenger Steve Gebhardt, who had 49.2 percent, in the GOP primary. Gonzalez has presided over the court since 2009. Gebhardt is a felony prosecutor in the Tarrant County district attorney’s office. No Democrat is running.

Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 1

Attorney David Cook squeaked out a victory in the three-way race for this misdemeanor court. Cook, with 50.6 percent in complete and unofficial returns, defeated Everett Young, now judge of the 297th state District Court, who had 31.2 percent, and attorney Don Hase had 18.1 percent. No Democrat is running.

Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 2

Atticus Gill will compete against Carey Walker in a Republican Party runoff in May for this misdemeanor court. In completed but unofficial returns, Gill had 33.6 percent and Walker 30.7 percent. Attorneys John White and Joyce Stevens got 19 percent and 16.7 percent in the race, respectively.

The winner will face Democrat Leon Reed Jr. in the November general election.

Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 3

In the Republican primary, Bob McCoy, a sitting judge on the Texas 2nd Court of Appeals, will be in a runoff for the court against attorney Alexander Kim. McCoy had 49.6 percent and Kim 34.2 percent in complete but unofficial returns. Attorney Casey Cole had 16.2 percent. No Democrat is running.

Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 8

In complete and unofficial returns, Charles L. “Chuck” Vanover, a Tarrant County assistant district attorney, had 54.2 percent; attorney and former state District Judge James Wilson had 28.4 percent, and attorney Lynda Tarwater had 17.4 percent in the GOP primary. No Democrat filed for the court.

Justice of the peace races

Five of the eight Tarrant County justice of the peace precincts have contested races in Tuesday’s party primaries. Four of the contests are Republican; one is Democratic.

All eight incumbents are seeking re-election for the four-year terms.

Precinct 2

Mary Tom Cravens Curnutt, who was appointed in May when Linda B. Davis retired, had 51.7 percent in unofficial but complete returns against former state Rep. Barbara Nash, who had 25.5 percent; William Shane Nolen, 37, a Pantego attorney had 22.8 percent.

The winner will face Democrat Melinda Hamilton in November.

Precinct 3

In the GOP race for this Northeast Tarrant County precinct, incumbent Russ Casey had 48.8 percent, Lenny Lopez, owner of a Hurst heating and air-conditioning business, had 28.6 percent, and Christina Fox, a Colleyville lawyer, had 22.6 percent in complete and unofficial returns.

Casey and Lopez will face each other in a runoff in May.

Last year, Casey was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court as chairman of a task force to redesign the JP and small-claims courts.

The winner will take office in January because no Democrat filed for the office.

Precinct 4

Incumbent Jacquelyn Wright easily won re-election with 67.5 percent in unofficial but complete returns over real estate agent Vickie Phillips of Azle, who had 32.5 percent for a precinct that covers most of Northwest Tarrant County.

Wright has held the office since 1991. No Democrat ran.

Precinct 5

In the Democratic primary for this precinct, which includes the north side of Fort Worth, incumbent Sergio L. De Leon had 71.3 percent over Macario “Mac” Belmontes, who had 28.7 percent in unofficial but complete returns.

In November, the winner will face Republican Cheryl Surber, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.

Precinct 7

In unofficial but complete returns, incumbent Matt Hayes won the GOP primary with 54.2 percent against a former justice of the peace, Tom Corbin, who had 45.8 percent. Corbin lost to Hayes in 2010.

The winner will face Democrat Sandra Lee in the November election.

Precinct 7 includes most of south Arlington, Dalworthington Gardens, Grand Prairie (those areas in Tarrant County), Kennedale, Mansfield and the Rendon area west of Interstate 35W.

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