Erath County voters are preparing to head back to the polls to decide a winner in two area races.

Republicans will decide between Rick Hale and Jim Pack for commissioner of precinct 1 during the April 8 runoff election. The two ousted incumbent Jerry Martin in the primary, but neither were able to garner the 51 percent majority it takes to get the Republican nomination.

Hale received 345 votes (40.83 percent) in the March 4 primary, while Pack trailed with 261 votes (30.89 percent). The winner will meet Democrat Alvis Yardley in the November general election.

Likewise, the runoff will determine the Democratic nominee for the Texas Railroad Commission.

Mark Thompson, a therapist for the blind and former police officer of Hamilton, will square off against retired petroleum engineer Dale Henry of Lampasas.

The Democratic nominee will face Railroad Commission chairman Michael Williams

in November. Williams ran unopposed for a six-year term on the three-member commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, pipelines and gas utilities.

There has not been a Democrat elected to the three-member Texas Railroad Commission since Bob Krueger in 1990.

County clerk Gwinda Jones said voters can participate in the runoff even if they did not vote in the primary.

Early voting will take place from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., March 31 - April 5, at the Erath County Courthouse. Election Day polls will be open from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., April 8.