Denton Mayor-elect Gerard Hudspeth carried fewer precincts than District 2 challenger Keely Briggs in their runoff election — but Robson Ranch was the difference in deciding the race.
In unofficial returns, that precinct cast 1,774 votes for Hudspeth, compared with 369 ballots for Briggs. With a total of 2,143 votes, Robson Ranch represented the largest turnout of any of the 43 precincts covered in the election.
“It’s important to talk to everyone irrespective of location,” Hudspeth said. “I have candidly been planning, and I have a meeting set with the city manager and trying to get ready hitting the ground running.”
He carried 16 precincts. Briggs, a community volunteer, won 21 precincts. But Hudspeth, a litigation consultant, captured 53% of the vote (8,440 to 7,430). After leaving the council on Nov. 17 with Birdia Johnson being sworn in to take over his District 1 seat, Hudspeth will return Dec. 17 to succeed Chris Watts as mayor.
Briggs won many of the same precincts in the runoff as she did on Nov. 3, including areas in central and northern Denton.
Robson Ranch (Precinct 4003) is a retirement community for residents 55 and older in southwestern Denton. Unlike with the mayoral runoff, the community did not decide the at-large Place 6 runoff.
Challenger Jim Mann, a pastor, carried Robson Ranch with 1,710 votes. Place 6 council member Paul Meltzer, a retired product developer, received 432 votes in the community.
“Robson is my donor base,” Meltzer said. “It’s a little hard to understand. I think Gerard probably has a group of supporters just from having grown up here and having personal connections. He has his core. I also think I have some support having run citywide before. Hopefully, we are both interested in doing the best we can for the city as a whole — for those who voted for us and those who didn’t. The truth is I have voted in agreement with every other council member to the same degree. We just have issues where we differ.”
In unofficial returns, Meltzer received 8,221 votes while Mann received 7,432. The only precinct won by both Meltzer and Hudspeth is 4041 in southeastern Denton. Meltzer received 129 votes there, while the mayor-elect received 131 votes.
Connie Baker, in his runoff victory over Ronnie Anderson for the District 2 unexpired term, won 11 precincts. Anderson took Precinct 1008 (8-2). The largest turnouts in the District 2 runoff were in 1010 (509 votes), 1011 (526 votes), 1012 (945 votes) and 4006 (581 votes).
Baker, a retiree, received 2,590 votes, while Anderson, an administrator, received 1,737 votes in unofficial returns, for a total of 4,327 votes in the runoff.
In the Place 6 runoff, 16,653 votes were cast. And in the mayoral runoff, 15,870 ballots were cast.