Fort Bend County Judge KP George Wins Re-election

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots on Election Day at Sienna Annex in Missouri City.
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots on Election Day at Sienna Annex in Missouri City. Photo by Margaret Downing

With reportedly high voter turnout, Democrat incumbent KP George, George was leading in his re-election bid for Fort Bend County judge against Republican challenger Trever Nehls with 52 percent of the votes to Nehl's 48 percent on Wednesday morning. Although official results had not been issued by 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle has declared George the winner.

Nehls has served as the constable for Precinct 4 for eight years and completed a 33-year stint in the military, where he reached the rank of colonel. He campaigned on increased law enforcement efforts, following his claims that the county was missing deputy personnel in the sheriff’s office and in patrolling duties. He hoped to provide the necessary resources to fill these vacancies. The Republican also wanted to curb inflation and high taxes, as he planned to decrease taxes for Fort Bend County residents.

In turn, George pointed to his leadership during the area’s problems with the state’s electric grid in both cold and hot weather as well as winter storms such as the February 2021 freeze. He also said he has worked to create more job opportunities and reduced tax rates for residents.

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A voter comes prepared to wait in line with an umbrella in hand.
Photo by Margaret Downing

In recent days, however, George has come under fire for the COVID-19 vaccination contracts the county entered into with Next Wave Strategies after an audit showed about 25 percent of what the consulting company billed the county could not be substantiated.

He also faced criticism when there were widespread technological issues in the 2020 election. John Oldham, elections administrator of the county, stated these issues came following a human error where someone placed the wrong early voting date into electronic poll books. This technology allowed voters to check-in to polling locations and collected voters’ information. After this mistake, across several Fort Bend polling sites there were reports of polling machines out of service for hours. This resulted in voters having to wait in long lines for hours to cast their ballots.

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Cell phones got pretty heavy use by those waiting in a line to vote at the Sienna Annex in Missouri City.
Photo by Margaret Downing

George’s plans include focusing on public infrastructure efforts to meet the needs of Fort Bend county’s population growth. He also said he plans to tackle flood and drainage management, of particular concern to the many residents who were flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

Following the announcement of his victory, George released the following statement:

"I am honored to have been re-elected as the Fort Bend County Judge to keep moving #FortBendForward.

It is because of our grassroots volunteers, working people, our campaign team, and the voters of our diverse community – that we can continue to keep Fort Bend County the #1 place in America to raise our families.

I will continue to lead our communities with the values of compassion, common sense, and unity, and we will accomplish even more in the next four years because we will do it together — united and stronger."

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Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.