BONHAM — In a close race for a spot on the Bonham City Council Bob Thomas defeated opponent Tony Rodriguez by just 16 votes on Saturday. The runoff election was held after no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote during the general election on May 9.

BONHAM — In a close race for a spot on the Bonham City Council Bob Thomas defeated opponent Tony Rodriguez by just 16 votes on Saturday. The runoff election was held after no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote during the general election on May 9.


In Saturday’s runoff election, Thomas received 157 votes; Rodriguez received 141.


"It felt like we won before when we had the last election," Thomas said about his 12 vote victory in May. "I’ve been through this before, but it is finally over."


Thomas said he originally was told he won the election and served briefly on the council in June. It was after this that he was informed about the rule that requires a candidate to receive 50 percent of the vote.


At first Thomas said he planned to concede the election to save the city the cost of a second election. It was the urging of supporters that convinced him to stay in the fight, he said.


Thomas retired in Bonham after a 37-year career in publishing in the Northeast, he said. It is this experience in business that Thomas said he plans to bring with him to the council, using a goal-oriented approach to public service. Before his interest in serving on the council, Thomas served on the Bonham Independent School District Board.


While on the council, Thomas said he has 12 goals he would like to accomplish. Among these goals are efforts to clean up the city while improving the city’s housing stock.


"If I can get those done I will feel I have been successful once again," Thomas said. "I realize that this is going to be a step-by-step approach."


Other goals include recognizing the city staff. "These people work hard for us, and I don’t think they get the recognition."


Once he takes his position on the council, Thomas said he plans to work with his fellow council members on several issues at hand, including a contested smoking ban in the city.


"I am not going to bring my goals to them now," Thomas said. "I just want to work with them on what they have set."


Rodriguez said he is taking the loss in stride and plans to continue to seek office. The disappointing part of Saturday’s election was not losing by 16 votes, but the fact that less than 300 people voted, he said. In the future, Rodriguez said he hopes to rally voters to go to the polls and vote.


"I get the feeling people want me in office," Rodriguez said. "I still have a lot of backing."