Merritt Ahead In Representatives Race - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/7/06-Longview

Merritt Ahead In Representatives Race

      A five term state Representative looks to be on his way to running for a 6th term. There has been a big TV campaign by both district 7 incumbent Tommy Merritt and challenger Mark Williams. Williams' campaign attacked "Merritt's" record while in the house. And "Merritt" reacted with a defamation of character lawsuit. But it was a very happy Merritt camp Tuesday night, very confident about early numbers, after a bitterly contested primary race where angry words were exchanged by the candidates and their families. After enduring a vicious attacking ad campaign, Merritt turned the tables in the race pointing out that Williams received huge funding from a San Antonio doctor.

     "This vote shows that people want to have a local elected official and not someone who's bought and paid for from San Antonio" says Merritt.

      Around 100 Merritt supporters turned out to his gathering on Tyler street and as the early returns came in the party began to swell. And a sense of relief at an early lead. With leads in Smith and Gregg county, Merritt believes voters weren't fooled by Williams ad attack.

    "They realized that those ads were not accurate and as they kept pounding that the voters reacted to that and saw through the smoke and mirror, I just want to say thanks to the voters, thanks for showing up" Merritt says.

    For Merritt it could be a chance at a 6th term in the general election.

Bob Hallmark reporting.

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