Former mayoral hopeful Pat Shelbourne ousted incumbent Stephenville City Council member Cyndi Godwin in the battle for Place 1, while incumbent council member Mark Murphy fended off the challenges of two others - as well as a dropped-out candidate who was still on the ballot - to retain Place 7.

That’s what complete but unofficial vote totals indicated late Saturday.

Shelbourne, a former assistant school superintendent for business and operations, claimed 534 votes (65 percent) to easily defeat Godwin, who garnered 292 votes (35 percent).

“I am very grateful for the support of the citizens of Stephenville during this election process,” said Shelbourne, who faced and lost to Mayor Rusty Jergins in the 2006 election.

“I appreciate their confidence in me and will work hard to be an effective and active city council member,” Shelbourne said. “I congratulate the other winner (Murphy) and pledge to work hard with all the council. I would like to thank Cyndi Godwin for her service on the council the past two years and wish her well in her future endeavors.”

After he takes office, Shelbourne said, he plans to “learn as much as I can about the process and the issues that are out there right now.”

“I’m looking forward to helping with the budget formulation this year,” Shelbourne said.

In the Place 7 race, Murphy grabbed 440 votes (52 percent), while former council member Robert Burns received 323 votes (38 percent) and Virginia Abel received 60 votes (7 percent).

Another candidate who dropped out of the race but still had his name on the ballot, D. Ray Elder, received 23 votes (3 percent).

Efforts to reach Murphy for comment before Saturday’s 9:30 p.m. press deadline were unsuccessful.

Incumbent Place 3 council member Nancy Hunter and incumbent Place 5 council member Alan Nash retained their council seats without opposition.

Meanwhile, a proposed constitutional amendment to adjust the public school ad valorem tax or tax rates for taxpayers who are aged 65 or older, or are disabled, and who are owners of an exempted homestead appeared headed for passage at presstime.

With 50 percent of the returns in statewide, 88 percent of Texas voters favored the amendment, while 12 percent were against it.

In Erath County, 92 percent of voters favored the amendment, while 8 percent opposed it.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.