Revisiting Potter County judge contest

Indulge me for a moment, maybe two, as I look back to the March 4 Republican Party primary race for Potter County judge.

I ran into a long-time acquaintance the other morning. We talked about the contest and we asked each other whether we were happy with the outcome. I was, given that Nancy Tanner won the election outright in a five-candidate field; she’ll take office in January, given that there are no Democrats on the ballot this fall.

My pal wasn’t so sure about it. We both live in Randall County, so neither of us had a vote to cast in that contest. We both know all the contestants, some better than others.

He said something curious. He didn’t think Tanner was necessarily the right pick, even though she worked for 20 years as County Judge Arthur Ware’s administrative assistant and for a couple of years assumed many of the actual duties of judge as Ware has tried to recover from a devastating stroke.

Ware fired Tanner from her job this past year for reasons he hasn’t yet explained.

I asked my friend: Why not support Tanner’s election?

It would be like asking the city secretary to take over as mayor of Amarillo, he said. I responded, “Huh?”

The city secretary is a capable individual — who succeeded another highly capable person at that City Hall post. The secretary, my pal said, is capable of doing all the administrative functions, but she isn’t necessarily a leader.

Thus, he contends, Tanner is succeeding to a post where she hasn’t demonstrated any leadership qualities.

Well, I differed with my friend — as I do on most political matters. I consider him a contrarian; he likely thinks the same of me.

I’ll just go on believing that Potter County Republicans chose wisely when they elected Tanner with a 50.5 percent majority. She’s done the job already. She knows the players. She understands county government. She’s experienced, highly qualified, understands the intricacies of probate law and mental health commitments.

The leadership part? I am confident Nancy Tanner will show her mettle.