Duncan elected new judge of Limestone County

By Roxanne Thompson
Staff Writer
Limestone County voters decided the runoff for county judge Tuesday, choosing Richard Duncan to fill that spot for the next four years – and it was close, only 38 votes separating the two.
The runoff was required after a four-way race in the March 6 Republican primary resulted in no candidate garnering more than 50 percent of the vote. The top two vote-getters were Mexia Mayor and businessman Richard Duncan, who won 1,024 votes, for 34.4 percent, and Limestone County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mark Roark, who won 933 votes, for 31.34 percent. Incumbent Daniel Burkeen won 636 votes, for 21.36 percent, while Groesbeck attorney Michelle Latray won 384 votes, for 12.9 percent.
Since no one ran for county judge in the Democratic primary, the winner in the Republican primary was expected to be the winner in the November elections and be sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2019. However, incumbent County Judge Daniel Burkeen resigned as judge, effective May 31, as part of an agreement with the Texas Judicial Commission.
The state set all primary runoff elections for May 22, providing 11 weeks for voters to think about their choices, and for runoff candidates to convince voters to choose them.
The final results showed that Duncan won 1,155 votes, for 50.84 percent, while Roark won 1,117 votes, for 49.16 percent.
After the final votes were announced, Duncan remarked on the close results and complimented his opponent.
“I can’t believe how close this was; this was a nail-biter to the end,” Duncan said. “Let me start out by saying how much I appreciate Mark Roark. He ran a very good race. He and his family worked themselves very hard. It was just a very nail-biting moment tonight. He did what he needed to do, and I was proud to run the race with him.”
Duncan also shared his thoughts about the future and expressed gratitude to his supporters.
“I look forward to working with the commissioners, doing good for the county,” he said. “Thanks to everyone that showed up and worked. For all the people that worked for me, I want to put a shout-out to Shirley Killingsworth. She worked tirelessly. Jason Forge in Mexia worked tirelessly. So many people worked tirelessly, so I’m just very happy tonight and I’m still a little bit in shock.”
Roark also expressed gratitude for the good showing he made, thanking his supporters and pledging to work with Duncan.
“I’m very glad to be able to be in this race,” Roark said. “I’m very appreciative of the support we had in my campaign. I am still working for the county through the Sheriff’s Office. I look forward to working with Richard Duncan as the county judge and helping Limestone County to continue to move forward.”
Roark described the runoff process as “very good.”
“I’m very happy with the turnouts,” he said. “We had a large number of voters turn out for a runoff election, which is outstanding. I love to see our residents take an interest in the campaign. I’m very thankful for the people I have met throughout this campaign, especially the Christian families that have been involved in my life since I’ve gotten involved in this. I certainly do appreciate everybody who has supported me and come in behind me, even behind closed doors, to support me, that I was unaware of. It’s just outstanding; I’m very grateful for that.”