It would take incoming Sheriff Will Travis almost his first full year’s pay to recoup his expenses in winning the race.
Travis defeated two-term Sheriff Benny Parkey in the Republican primary on May 29, and there is no Democrat running, so Travis will become Denton County sheriff on Jan. 1.
The current yearly salary for the sheriff’s job is $107,431. According to election financial records, Travis spent $102,569 of his own money on the race. He paid Austin consulting company KC Strategies $99,735 for consulting, advertising and television spots. His campaign finance reports show no contributions.
Parkey received $14,785 in contributions from 55 supporters, the largest being a $2,000 donation from James and Linda McNatt, and he spent $13,381, mostly for printing and advertising.
Jesse Flores, the third candidate in the sheriff’s race, reported $6,139 in contributions from 31 contributors, the largest being a $1,000 donation from his campaign treasurer, Jeff Christenson, and $3,860 in expenditures.
When all the votes were tallied, Travis had 54 percent, Parkey drew 35 percent and Flores finished with 11 percent.
Parkey declined comment, and Flores could not be reached for comment, but Travis said it was well worth the money for the results the Republican election candidate consulting company helped him achieve.
“It’s OK with me,” he said. “They told me I needed to show my faith in the voters. They said they want to see the face of the people they’re voting for. I was all over this county. I was at city council meetings, school board meetings. I’d introduce myself and tell them I wanted their vote. I was outside the polling places at the city elections, and I’d tell them, ‘I hope you come back next week and vote for me.’”
Travis said he did not accept contributions because he didn’t want to be beholden to anyone.
“I had tons and tons of offers,” he said. “But I wanted to finance it myself so no one could come back and think I owed them anything.”
A precinct-by-precinct check of Denton County’s 145 polling sites shows that Travis carried almost every precinct in the densely populated southern part of the county, while Parkey carried Denton, Aubrey, Sanger and Krum. Travis said he gave those areas as much attention as the ones he carried and wasn’t sure of the reasons for the difference.
“Well, Benny is from Krum, and he is well-known and respected in Denton,” he said. “I’m from the southern part of the county and not as well-known in Denton.”
Travis did carry Precinct 1019 in south Denton, as well as communities in the northern part of the county including Pilot Point, Ponder and Cross Roads.
Flores, a Lewisville police community officer, did not carry any precincts.
Parkey ran on his record of achievements in the sheriff’s office the past seven years and his 28 years in law enforcement. He was endorsed by Congressman Michael Burgess, County Judge Mary Horn, all four county commissioners, four county constables, several police associations, two Frisco political organizations and the Denton County Republican Assembly.
Travis spent two years with the Dallas Police Department and five years with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He resigned under a cloud but insists he did nothing wrong. He has been a businessman for the past 15 years. He also was a reserve officer in both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Air Force.
He listed no endorsements on the numerous mailers for which he paid. But he claims Texas Alamo hero William B. Travis as an ancestor and used the catchphrase “It’s time to draw a line in the sand.”
Will Travis said he is concentrating now on earning his Texas peace officer’s license. He expects to have it in hand within two months, he said. Then he will study the sheriff’s office operations and staffing to see what he will need in the way of new employees.
“I will have to find out how many retirements we get,” he said. “I’ve heard that a lot of people think they’re losing their jobs. I don’t know where they’re hearing that; certainly not from me.”
DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.