RACE TO WATCH: Candidates face off for Smith County chair in March primaries

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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Thousands of people are showing up to vote early this year. One seat up for election is the Republican and Democratic Chairman and here’s why the spots are important this time around.

“We don’t need to run against the Democrats, hell, we’ve got a bigger problem right here among our own,” said Ron Shaffer, who is running for Smith County Republican Chair.

“I think we both want to see a more unified and things like that, but I’m also a businessman, you either perform or you don’t perform,” said David Stein, who is also in the running.

Stein and Shaffer spoke at a Smith County Republican Women’s Club luncheon last week, where they discussed the controversial seat that is held by current Republican Chairman, Brent Thompson. Many in the party pulled their support back in February of last year, accusing Thompson of abandoning his seat. Now the two men are vying for his spot in the March 3rd primary.

“I feel that absolutely this year’s election is one of the more important things that I’ll have experienced in my lifetime,” said Shaffer.

“I just have a passion for growing our party, we need to grow our voter base, we need to get people energized, get people excited, get them out to vote,” said Stein.

On the other side of the aisle, incumbent Michael Tolbert is running for Democratic Chairman against his opponent Pastor John Walton of Tyler.

Tolbert tells KETK News, chairman on either side are responsible for:

  • Administrative duties when it comes to election day
  • Setting the tone and overall vision for the party in Smith County
  • Organizing events to get more voters to the polls

Activities that make the seat a very important one in the March 3rd primary.

To date, 8,600 people have voted in Smith County, Gregg and Cherokee County have polled around 2,500 voters and about 1,700 ballots have been cast in Nacogdoches County.

Early voting ends Friday, February 28 with plenty of time to cast your ballot including March 3.

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