By Mitch Borden
Former Stonegate Minister Patrick Payton beat Midland’s current and long-time mayor Jerry Morales, along with local businesswoman Jenny Cudd, in the election to be the city’s leader for the next three years. Preliminary results released after polls closed in Midland on Tuesday night show Payton edging out Morales by thousands of votes.
According to Midland County’s election results Payton, a political newcomer, received 10,867 votes while Morales received 6,775 votes.
Much of Payton’s campaign platform was built on reexamining the guiding values of the city to better plan for the future. It’s an idea that seems to have resonated strongly with Midlanders, who overwhelmingly voted for Payton.
There were signs that the megachurch pastor turned corporate coach was gaining a lot of popularity early on in the election. An initial finance report of campaign donations revealed Payton hauled in over $185,000 — overshadowing the amounts both of his opponents were able to gather over the course of the entire mayoral race.
Payton will step into his new role as mayor of Midland in January of 2020.
Election Season Isn’t Quite Over
Even though the mayoral race has come to a close, two of Midland’s fall elections are still up in the air.
Midland Independent School District’s $569-million bond proposal, which would go towards building two new high schools and refurbishing an existing campus, is still too close to call. If the current results hold, the bond will pass — but just barely. Only 12 votes are keeping the initiative from failing and officials still need to process more ballots.
The County’s top election official says there are over 150 general election ballots that still need to be assessed. Some are mailed-in ballots and others are provisional ballots, which are ballots that need to be verified. According to the county, this means the bond election can still go either way.
The uncounted ballots also pose a problem for Midland’s District 3 city council race. By the end of election night, there was a clear front runner, local attorney Jack Ladd Jr. But he was only about 50 votes ahead of Robin Poole which means this race could still be decided by the outstanding ballots Midland County is collecting.
What complicates the matter further is Midland’s election office hasn’t released the number of the 150 mail-in and provisional votes that qualified for the District 3 election — making it difficult to predict how the final results of this race could be affected by the final tally of votes.