Controversy Over Precinct 2 Constable Position

There will now be another name on the November ballot to replace the late constable Frank Creath. That's Precinct 2 in Smith County. It comes after Creath's family publicly denounced the GOP's decision in naming Andy Dunklin as the candidate. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane spoke to the family, the Republican party, and also the new write-in candidate.

He's the current chief deputy of Precinct 3 in Smith County, and now James Lee is in the running to replace Constable Frank Creath. Lee says he entered as a write-in candidate because he feels Andy Dunklin does not have the proper qualifications.

"He's not a licensed peace officer in the state of Texas, he's twice been soundly defeated when he ran for the office of Sheriff," said Lee today.

Creath's family also does not agree with the decision.

They write, "The meeting of the Precinct 2 chairs to select a candidate was mere show for the public."

They go on to claim it's a way for Dunklin to re-run as Smith County Sheriff, and that the wishes of the community and their family played no role.

"My father was always one to speak plain and speak the truth, and he would be the first to stand up and say this is not right. That this is not what the voters of Precinct 2 wanted," said Greg Creath on Tuesday.

However, GOP precinct chair Sharon Guthrie says Dunklin's resume said it all.

"He has 25 years of law enforcement experience, 12 of those were with narcotics and so he has much drug interdiction experience to his resume, which is a big part of what Frank Creath did," says Guthrie.

Greg Creath's reply? "That's not a narcotics office, that is a constable's office."

Greg Creath said his father's wish was for his chief deputy, Glen Potter, to replace him.

"He's been there almost since the git-go when my dad was elected. Glen was the driving force behind cleaning up the drug problem in Precinct 2," said Greg Creath.

Potter and Todd Theone were the other finalists the GOP had to choose from before finally picking Andy Dunklin.

They say they listened carefully to each candidate .

"One of our precinct chairs even made the comment that Mr. Dunklin may be even over-qualified for the position. He had letters of commendation from the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from the New York Police Department," said Guthrie.

The Creath family is calling for an open and fair discussion about the decision, and now James Lee has dropped his name in the hat.

Guthrie adds Andy Dunklin did have a peace officer's license from his work in the past. She says all he has to do is get that renewed.

The write-in candidate, James Lee, has 22 years of experience as a peace officer in Smith County.

Courtney Lane, Reporting