Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates announced Thursday that he will seek another term. 

“It’s never been a question of ‘if’ I was going to seek re-election, just when I would announce and begin dividing my time with campaign activities,” Coates said in a prepared statement emailed to press. “Our team has put together a unique strategy that hasn’t been seen in politics for some time. It’s certainly old school. I am going to run on my record as sheriff and my record as a career law enforcement officer, that’s it.” 

Coates ran against three candidates during a special election in 2018, winning 53% of the vote and avoiding a runoff. 

Last week, former deputy Kent Howell announced that he will challenge Coates in the March 3 Republican Party Primary. 

“As sheriff my duty is to support and provide training for every team member at the ECSO, create an environment that nurtures a customer-service style interaction with citizens and provide opportunities for inmates to make positive and lasting changes in their lives should they visit the jail,” Coates said. 

Coates was appointed sheriff in 2016 following the death of then-sheriff Tommy Bryant. 

Since then he has implemented an inmate work program, inmate job training program and a program that allows citizen staff to attend the law enforcement academy and become certified deputies.

He also re-established the Sheriff’s Posse and transformed the sheriff’s office into a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement certified training facility. 

“Elections allow citizens the chance to review the performance of their elected officials; that’s what campaign season is all about,” said Coates’ campaign manager Brent Graves. “It’s a great opportunity for Matt to give his report to voters, answer their questions, hear their ideas and allow them to grade his paper by voting on election day.”

Coates will host a campaign kick-off luncheon at noon on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Agave Bar and Grill. 

Those who want to attend can RSVP by emailing