Political watcher says Jefferson County Republican Party is on the move, but needs wins

A long-time Jefferson County political observer says the emergence of a strong Republican Party in the county is unmistakable. But Beaumont Enterprise editor Tom Taschinger argues the final results prove Democrats are not "on the run."

"Baylor Wortham won by a fairly comfortable margin for the Democrats. In the other two, they were close but they just fell a little bit short. So they keep falling short in a lot of the races, but I guess it encourages them to keep coming back stronger. But they made progress. They've taken the county for the President for the first time in a long, long time," says Taschinger.
Under the leadership of new GOP chairman Dr. Garrett Peel, the Jefferson County Republican Party reportedly got more than 20,000 straight-party GOP votes.
"Republicans are going to stay. We have a two party system now in Jefferson County. We are growing and that is what's most important. We had such a great turn out." Peel told 12News. 
Peel was impressed with the showing of Republicans but said he wants to investigate further before formally conceding the races for Jefferson County Sheriff, 136th District Court and County Court at Law #2.
While impressed with the showing, Taschinger argued the party will need to start winning the big races, not just the presidential contest, to truly dominate the county.
12News asked about the efforts of new Democratic Party chairman Cade Bernsen.
"This is a historic election. We've never seen anything like Trump before and hopefully we'll never see anything like him again. Jefferson County is a blue county and we're going to stay a blue county." Bernsen said. 
Taschinger said, "Well, I think he's playing an excellent game of defense. Republicans keep thinking that the county was going to turn as red as Hardin County and Orange County had. Cade Bernsen and Democrats - they keep fending them off every time they try. They come close but, in the end, its a Democrat winning these 3 tight, county-wide races tonight as they perfectly illustrated."
The fundraising effort of Democrats also remains strong. For example, Baylor Wortham was able to raise almost $150,000 for his race. Wortham got more votes than his challenger in the race.

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