By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS – Residents elected Sam Murphey to fill Place 2 on the City Council, but none of the three candidates topped the 50 percent voter mark to win the Place 5 seat.

In the Place 5 race, the top two vote-getters, Spencer Smith and Robert Hopkins, are headed to an apparent runoff election next month.

Murphey was named the winner of the Place 2 City Council race, according to the unofficial vote totals announced Saturday night.

Murphey earned 588 votes, while his opponent, James Sutton Sr., received 271 votes.

"I am so looking forward to being one of the community members who is a part of the process," Murphey said about his victory.

Murphey, 64, has lived in the city for 23 years. He served in U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards' office from 1991 to 2007, and ran for the District 55 seat in the Texas House of Representatives, losing to Ralph Sheffield last November.

This won't be Sutton's last City Council race, he said.

Sutton said he will be working to run again next May, but in the meantime, he is going to serve the city in whatever way he can.

"I am ready to support the City Council in any way I can and stay focused in the goals that make this city great," Sutton said.

Sutton, 45, is a nine-year resident of the city. He is a deputy site manager, with the FBCB2 Program, Engineering Solutions and Products Inc. It was his first time running for the office.

The election for Place 5 will go to a runoff next month, as no candidate received a majority of the vote.

A total of 873 votes were cast in the Place 5 election, and a winner would have to take at least 436.5 plus one vote to win, said Patty Brunson, Harker Heights assistant city manager.

Spencer Smith came close, earning 433 votes. Steve Hoskins was second with 249 votes. Robert Tucker finished with 125 votes.

Smith and Hoskins will head to a runoff June 2.

While Smith wished the totals were slightly different, he felt that his campaign has done well so far, he said.

"I feel very confident in the support I have," Smith said.

Smith, 57, has lived in the city for 11 years. He currently works as a financial adviser. Smith has been on the Harker Heights Planning and Zoning Commission for six years, and is currently serving on the Harker Heights Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Hoskins declined comment pending announcement of the official vote totals on Tuesday.

Hoskins, 51, recently had his home annexed by the city. He is a former Killeen police captain, and spent more then 30 years working as an municipal employee. He is currently working on opening his own business.

Tucker, 49, is a 33-year resident of Harker Heights. He is a local nightclub owner, and he was running for the City Council for the first time.

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