When Alfonso Campos woke up the morning after the runoff election on May 23, the overwhelming emotion he felt was relief.

“It all felt like a dream, one I hadn’t planned on,” Campos, 59, said of his bid to become Erath County judge.

Campos, who currently works as a bailiff, said he never had political aspirations until Judge Tab Thompson announced his retirement.

“This was all unplanned, it just came along,” he said. “When Judge Thompson said he wouldn’t run again, I threw my hat into the ring. It’s been a long, long process.”

That process began in September 2017 when Campos announced his candidacy.

A short time later, four others joined the race.

“I knew with five people in it, it would be hard to get a 50 percent majority, so I focused on making the runoff,” he said.

That focus paid off and on May 22, Campos won the runoff against Shelby Slawson.

“Ms. Slawson’s campaign was so worthy,” he said. “We worked hard for the runoff, then advanced, and my team worked to get new voters.

“It’s been hectic. The campaign was such a marathon that I forgot what home life was like, but the other night Connie (his wife) and I got to have dinner with the kids. That was nice.”

What’s next

Campos will be sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2019.

In the coming months, he plans to visit with current staff and other elected officials.

“I have a long time between now and then to visit with those who are going to be a part of the every day business,” he said. “I have already met with Judge Thompson and I hope to continue that. His knowledge is invaluable.”

Campos says developing relationships will continue to be his focus. 

“It is a change and some things are going to be different, but I want to make people feel at ease with a smooth transition and continuity of business. The county is in good shape,” he said. “I like input and I like to be inviting. My door will always be open and I want people to come in and tell me what’s on their mind.”

Campos says he is also tossing around the idea of taking some time off to spend with family before he is sworn into office.  

“This has been a journey of a lifetime, and it’s brought my brothers and sisters even closer together,” Campos said. “I still can’t believe it’s real. I keep saying, ‘Someone come pinch me.’”