EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Many expected the Republican primary for Pct. 4 Commissioner to end in a runoff Tuesday night, but it was not even close. Incumbent Ed Rinehart easily won the race with 59.04 percent of the votes, compared to his most vocal challenger Monte Lane’s 26.91 percent. Four years ago, Rinehart claimed only 46.32 percent of the primary vote, which was considerably less than this year. Meanwhile, Lane’s 2006 turnout was better than his showing this year, at 27.73 percent.
After the results were in, Commissioner Rinehart thanked his supporters and then other elected officials thanked him.
Pct. 3 Commissioner Ed Chance told the East Montgomery County crowd Rinehart’s importance to them was obvious, adding “He’s equally or more important to Montgomery County and the Commissioners Court.”
“We work as a group and we need the support and the help that Rinehart has offered the court over the last 12 years,” Chance said. “Ed’s done a better job than we’ve seen around here in years.”
Likewise, Pct. 2 Commissioner Craig Doyal said Rinehart works for “all of Montgomery County.”
“There’s a lot of things we’ve been able to accomplish on the west side because of Commissioner Rinehart,” Doyal said. “You’re very fortunate to have him as your commissioner and we’re certainly very fortunate to work with him.”
Pct. 1 Commissioner Mike Meador said the Commissioners Court was “relieved.”
Pct. 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden said he thought he spoke himself and Sheriff Tommy Gage when he said Commissioner Rinehart supports law enforcement in Montgomery County.
“We have the commissioners’ support,” Hayden said. “They support us and we support them and we couldn’t do the things we do without them and without keeping Ed on Commissioners Court.”
Sheriff Tommy Gage called Rinehart a “good friend to law enforcement” and a “good friend personally.”
“We have a pro-law enforcement Commissioners Court and Commissioner Rinehart is one of our biggest supporters,” Gage said. “We couldn’t do it without him.”
“It’s a victory not only for the court, but for law enforcement,” he said. “Commissioner Rinehart is not only a good commissioner, but a good man.”
Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts praised the commissioner and his supporters who worked so tirelessly throughout the campaign.
The Judge, who has gained a reputation and even admiration for being direct, did not disappoint with his election night remarks which began with a comment made by so many in private.
“I’ve not heard Ed Rinehart one time say one bad thing about Monte Lane in my presence,” Metts said. “He took the high road.”
The judge went on to say how government should work for the people.
“That’s not happening in Washington, but it’s working for you here in Pct. 4 in Montgomery County,” Metts said, “With all these gentlemen (the Commissioners), the Constable, and the Sheriff – that’s the way it ought to be.”
“We work together and get things done,” he said. “You can call it the “good ol’ boys” if you want to, but it’s working.”
Metts said Rinehart had “stepped up to the plate” every time he was asked.
As an example of how Rinehart’s constituents feel about him, Metts pointed out that his own73-year-old father had campaigned for Rinehart, joking that he thought his dad put more effort into that campaign than the judge’s.
Metts was also on the primary ballot this year, but ran unopposed.
Candidate Monte Lane did not make the traditional concession call to Commissioner Rinehart and could not be reached for comment.