BEAUMONT — A Republican judicial candidate narrowly beat his Democratic opponent in one of the more hotly contested races in Southeast Texas Tuesday.

The race for 172nd district court judge ended with Republican candidate Mitch Templeton emerging ahead of former Beaumont ISD attorney Melody Chappell with a total of 37,646 votes.

Chappell received 35,845 votes, according to results listed on the Jefferson County Elections website at 11 p.m.

MORE | Southeast Texas Election Results

The day before the election, Mitch Templeton told 12News his civil and criminal trial experience made him a solid choice.

MORE | Chappell, Templeton make last push before election day

MORE | SE TEXAS VOTES: Candidates for 172nd district judge face off, answer hard questions

"What I'm talking about is a system of designated dockets to, in a sense, help our current criminal cases clear their dockets and empty the jails of people that are trapped in jails because of their circumstances," Templeton said.

Chappell told 12News on the eve of the election that she wanted to continue retiring Judge Donald Floyd's legacy. Floyd has been the 172nd district judge since 1989.

"I believe I am a rational choice for the bench that’s what I’d want in a judge," Chappell said. "Someone who has a calm demeanor, calm temperament and a rational person to sit on the bench."