Eltife Accepts New Challenge As State Senator - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/18/04 - Tyler

Eltife Accepts New Challenge As State Senator

  With 100% of precincts reporting, Republican Kevin Eltife edged out Democrat Paul Sadler in Tuesday's District One State Senate Runoff Election.

  The former Tyler mayor got 52% of the vote, while Sadler received 48%. The voting was held up for hours as voting machines in Bowie County malfunctioned. That county ended up going to Paul Sadler, but it wasn't enough to make up the difference.

  Despite winning just five of the 16 counties in the district, Eltife said today he's ready to "roll up his sleeves" and move forward.

  "I want to get out and get to know the 48% that voted against us," Eltife said today. "We want to earn their trust and respect. I want to work for them, and hopefully gain their support over time. It's important to me to get to know all of the communities, be accessible in all 15 and a half counties and work to solve their problems."

  Eltife is a former Tyler mayor who ran largely on his record of property tax cuts, while Sadler, a Henderson attorney, concentrated on his leadership on school finance reform when he was a state representative. Governor Perry is expected to call a special legislative session on school finance before the next regular session.

  "I hope there is a special session," Eltife said. "I think we need to solve school finance reform. Overwhelmingly throughout the district, that's the one issue I kept hearing about is 'please do something about property taxes'. And so, I hope there is a special session so I can go be a part of the solution."

Eltife will serve out the remainder of retired Senator Bill Ratliff's term. That term runs to 2006.

Senator Ratliff retired from the State Senate in 2003.

Kevin Berns, reporting.

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