Former Smith County constable reappointed to finish out 2020 after opponent found ineligible to serve

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Precinct 1 constable race had another wrinkle added to it Tuesday morning.

Former interim constable Bobby Garmon was appointed to finish out the rest of 2020 for Precinct 1 despite losing in the primary runoff back in July.

Smith County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to appoint him in the position following the death of Henry Jackson.

Jackson took office back in 1999 and his current term was set to expire at the end of the year. However, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison for tax evasion back in 2017. Garmon was named the interim in his absence.

Garmon lost the runoff to Curtis Traylor back in July after the March primary winner, Willie Mims, was ruled ineligible over the validity of signatures on his petition for candidacy.

However, under Texas law, Traylor himself is not eligible to be appointed to fill an official vacancy despite winning the election.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran explained in court on Tuesday that the Texas Election Code has different rules for being appointed to fill a vacancy rather than being elected.

To appear on a ballot, a candidate must reside in the precinct for six months before the filing date. When filling a vacancy, the same rule applies from the date of appointment. Records show that as recent as May, Traylor lived in Dallas.

Therefore, he cannot be officially appointed to fill the position, despite the fact that he will take office in January. There is no Republican challenger on the ballot for the November election.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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