The election of Jimmy Belt to Liberty County Pct. 2 justice of the peace was not only overwhelming, with Belt claiming 62 percent of the vote over incumbent Ronnie Davis, it was notable as the JP seat was the last Democratic stronghold for Liberty County. Every person who now holds a county office in Liberty County, with the exception of party chairs, is Republican.
“Not only did we flip that seat from blue to red, we flipped the boxes of Raywood and Pct. 20 in Cleveland to Republican,” said Liberty County Republican Party Chair Emily Cook. “That goes to show that the Democratic party of today is not what it used to be. People are fed up with gas prices, grocery bills going up and ridiculous policies they don’t support. There might not have been a sweep nationally from blue to red, but it was at home. The people of our county care about things that impact their daily lives.”
Belt’s win over Davis creates a situation that will have to be remedied before he is sworn into office in January 2023. The office for Pct. 2 justice of the peace has been located in a building on the personal property of the outgoing judge, who has held the position since 1982. That means Liberty County will now have to find an office space for Belt and his staff, and Belt is hoping it will be located somewhere in Daisetta.
“I want it to be located on Main Street in Daisetta. That area is central to all of the people in the precinct. The County may have to put me into something temporary until a more permanent office can be arranged. We don’t have much time, especially with the holidays coming. We have to be able to open our doors and go to work on Jan. 1,” Belt said. “We still have to get phone lines run, get furniture and computers, and get Internet and electricity connected to whatever office the County decides on.”
Belt is eyeing a couple of potential locations and is hoping to work with the county judge and commissioners to get the place secured.
On Wednesday, the day after his sweeping victory over Davis, Belt was already out picking up his political signs, and removing T-posts and 4X4 posts that have held the signs in place these last few months. In between gathering the signs, he fielded phone calls and texts from supporters who were anxious to congratulate him on the win.
“We had 130 people show up at our gathering last night at Generations. After the results started coming in, people began calling to congratulate me. I’ve even had people stopping by the house to congratulate me or to hug me,” Belt said. “I’ve had everyone wishing me the best.”
Best expressed gratitude to his election committee team for working as hard and collectively as they did to secure the win.
“I want to thank them for all their support. I also have to thank the voters of Pct. 2 for giving us their support and confidence, and the respect they gave me with their vote. I am humbled and I will do everything in my power to continue supporting all people in Pct. 2 in any manner I can in my capacity as justice of the peace,” said Belt, reiterating his campaign pledge to work equally for each and every citizen of Pct. 2.
Bluebonnet News reached out to Davis for comment, but he declined. Liberty County Democratic Party Chair Michael Mark also was contacted for comment. By email, Mark said he is disappointed that Davis was defeated as he “was a competent judge who was doing a wonderful job.” Mark added that he wished that Davis’ party affiliation had not been a basis for his loss.
“However, I am heartened that the alleged ‘red wave’ never materialized. Clearly Americans remain fed up with Donald Trump, election deniers, insurrectionists, threats to Social Security and Medicare, and assaults on women’s bodily autonomy. Our plans are to redouble our efforts to reach out to the citizens of Liberty County and educate them on the fact that the Democratic Party is the real party of the people,” Mark said. “We want everyone in Liberty County to have a fair shot and live up to his or her full potential.”