State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, was re-elected to the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday night with 78 percent of the votes.

Paddie garnered 19,651 votes compared to challenger Mark Williams’s 5,612 — or 22 percent — in results from Panola, Harrison, Sabine, Cass, Shelby and Marion Counties combined.

Calling from his watch party at the Ginnocchio Hotel in Marshall on Tuesday night, Paddie said he was pleased with the results. At the time, both Harrison and Shelby Counties still had not reported final tallies.

“I’m still waiting on some of the results to come in, but obviously early voting is very strong,” he said. “I’m just thankful for constituents who continue to put their faith in me and appreciate the fact that we’re working hard to be an effective voice for East Texas in Austin.”

In Panola County, Paddie garnered 2,861 votes to Williams’s 1,247. In Marion County, Paddie had 723 votes to Williams’s 198. In Cass County, Paddie got 1,590 votes to Williams’s 275. In Sabine County, Paddie had 1,707 votes to Williams’s 426. In Shelby County, Paddie garnered 4,171 votes to Williams’s 926. In Harrison County, Paddie got 6,271 votes to Williams’s 1,848.

Results are unofficial until votes are officially canvassed.

No candidate signed up to run in the Democratic primary, so Paddie’s new term starts January 2021. House District 9 encompasses Panola, Harrison, Marion, Cass, Sabine and Shelby Counties.

Paddie has been the District 9 representative for the past four terms. A Carthage native, he attended Texas A&M and worked in Houston before returning to East Texas in 2002. He has served on the Marshall City Commission and was the city’s mayor when he first ran for the Texas House in 2012.

Williams is a Panola County native who attended Stephen F. Austin State University. He is a rancher and has worked in the timber, cattle and oil and gas industries.

Throughout his campaign, Paddie had stressed his past accomplishments in office and his focus on advocating for rural East Texas. Paddie is serving as a member of the House’s redistricting committee and says the state’s population has grown while his district’s population has not.

“Whatever happens in East Texas trickles all the way across the state, and so what that means is redistricting is a very high-stakes type situation where every member is fighting for their constituency, trying to make sure that their voice is not diluted, that they continue to have a strong voice in the legislature, and so that’s going to weigh very heavily on the next session,” Paddie said earlier this year.

Williams’s campaign focused on advancing conservative causes he didn’t think were getting done by others in the legislature.

“We have to have those bills,” he said earlier this year. “We have to have constitutional carry. We have to protect life. We have to protect our history. That’s just the way I see it, and it’s not getting done. It’s the reason I’m here. I didn’t want to run; somebody needs to run, individuals, citizens that live and work in these communities have got to get active.”

Gov. Greg Abbott called the contested Texas House District 9 race for Paddie before all the results were in. Abbott congratulated Paddie, R-Marshall, for a win against primary challenger Mark Williams in an email Tuesday evening and thanked voters for supporting him.

“Congratulations to Representative Paddie on his well-earned victory in tonight’s primary,” Abbott said. “Chris has been a strong conservative advocate for his constituents and a tremendous leader in the Texas House. I thank the voters of House District 9 for their continued support of Representative Paddie, and I look forward to working alongside him to build a brighter future for the people of East Texas.”

Reporter

Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.