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Incumbents win all 3 Victoria County commissioner races

By DAVID TEWES
March 2, 2010 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated March 1, 2010 at 9:02 p.m.

Evelyn Dierlam and her husband Wayne Dierlam, incumbent of Precinct 4 county commissioner, await primary election results on Tuesday.

Voters Tuesday endorsed all three incumbents on the Victoria County Commissioners Court.

In the Democratic primary, incumbent Don Pozzi beat challenger Ron Reyna 2,273 to 1,868 votes in the county judge race and incumbent Wayne Dierlam fended off Lupe Zapata Jr. 764 to 392 votes for Precinct 4 county commissioner.

Kevin Janak had 2,643 votes compared to challenger David Stithem's 478 votes to win the Republican nomination for Precinct 2 county commissioner. Clint Ives beat Ernie Byrd 1,316 to 820 votes for the Republican Precinct 4 commissioners race.

Pozzi, who is in his eighth year as county judge, will now face Matt Ocker, who was unopposed Tuesday, in the November general election. Dierlam will take on Ives. Janak is unopposed in November.

"I knew my opponent worked very, very hard, but he ran a clean race," Pozzi said. "Certainly, I'm always satisfied with a win."

He urged anyone upset enough with him to oppose him to contact him by phone or mail to see if they can work out any differences.

Pozzi has said he provided the leadership and experience to bring county government through tough times, while maintaining the honesty and dignity of the office.

Reyna, a self-employed owner of R&R Electric and Integrated Computer Solutions, had said owning and operating an electrical and information technology businesses would give him the experience to run the office of county judge.

Dierlam, part owner of Dierlam Hay, Feed and Ranch Service, and managing partner and part owner of Dierlam Liquid Feed Service, and Zapata, self-employed owner of Zapata Security and a private investigator, are not strangers.

They ran against each other four years ago for the Victoria County Precinct 4 commissioner seat.

Dierlam said one of the disappointing things about the election is that so few people voted. He commended his opponent for running a clean race and for pushing him to work hard for re-election.

"We just have to go out there and go to work and get ready for the next election," Dierlam said.

Dierlam, who has been in the office for 11 years, said he grew up in the family business and learned the value of making money, overseeing the payroll and getting the bills paid. He said that experience carries over to his ability to help run county government.

Zapata has said it was time for a change because Dierlam has been unresponsive to the voters, leaving them unhappy.

Janak said he is humbled by the support he received and appreciates the voters who took time to cast their ballots for him.

"We treat each election, primary or general, the same," he said. "Now, I will continue to do what the voters voted me to do: listen and work for them."

Stithem said he's heard from people that Janak, a shift worker at Coleto Creek Power Station, has not convinced voters he devotes his full attention to county matters. Stithem, owner and operator of D&S plumbing, had said if he was elected he would treat the job as a full-time position. He said he would do his plumbing work in the evenings and on weekends if there is no pressing county business.

Ives had little to say about his victory.

"I felt confident with the usual nervousness," he said. "The next step is to sit down and map out a complex strategy for the next election."

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