Rick Hill handily defeated Mickey Posey and Rick Vessell for the Republican nomination for Precinct 3 justice of the peace in Tuesday's GOP primary and will face Democrat Larry Johnson in the general election in November.
Without an incumbent in the race, Republican political newcomers Vessel, a retired College Station police detective, Hill, a retired College Station educator, and Posey, a retired businessman and agent with the IRS, vied for the seat that was held by George Boyett since 1989.
Precinct 3 includes the Texas A&M campus and most of College Station. The annual salary for the position is $64,153.
Hill won the nomination with 66 percent of the vote. There were 2,309 votes cast overall, with 1,531 going to Hill, 391 to Posey, and 387 to Vessell.
Hill, 56, retired from the College Station school district after serving 22 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. He said his background in education would help him with decision-making, and that truancy would be a prime focus of the judgeship.
"My initial candidacy is based upon the fact that I've spent almost 30 years in this community building a reputation and a work ethic serving this community as an educator," he said. "I'm just ready to do that as Justice of the Peace in Brazos County."
Posey, 74, ran on a platform of experience in dealing with legal issues. Vessel, 41, is a businessman and retired from the College Station Police Department, where he had worked since 1992. He emphasized his familiarity with courts and judges from his 22 years in law enforcement.
Both men said they were pleased all the candidates ran clean races that focused on themselves rather than their opponents, and thanked all of their supporters.
"I think we all represented ourselves well. We didn't trash any of the others, and that's the kind of election I like. I appreciate them not trashing me, and I had no intention of trashing them," Posey said. "I think when you talk about what you do as opposed to what somebody else doesn't do, I think we're a lot better off."
Posey listened to the results from his home in College Station. He says this was his first and only run for political office.
Vessell, who was out of town on a business trip, released this statement to The Eagle:
"Congratulations to Rick Hill on his primary win. I want to thank him and Mickey for running respectful campaigns based on the issues important to Brazos County voters. Thanks to all who supported my campaign with special thanks to my wife and family. I look forward to a Republican win in November."
Hill now faces Johnson, who retired in 2012 as assistant chief of police in College Station. Both men said they know each other very well: Hill served as a district administrator while Johnson served on the College Station school board.
Johnson stressed that his 34 years in the College Station Police Department and nine years on the College Station school board will make him the best candidate for the position come November.
"I understand the school side with truancy, but I also have a very good idea of the things that have to do with law enforcement, a major part of what a Justice of the Peace does," Johnson said.
Hill thanked all of his supporters and said he will run with the same messages in his campaign leading up to November.
"I'm going to stress myself, just like I did in the primary," he said. "What I talk about are the things that I bring to the table, and the unique set of skills that I have that will make me an outstanding Justice of the Peace."