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Delwin L. Jones (April 2, 1924 – July 25, 2018)[1] was an American politician, who, prior to 2011, was the oldest member of the Texas House of Representatives,[2] having represented what became and what remains District 83 based in the area about Lubbock, Texas. Jones was originally elected as a Democrat in 1964, when that party held 149 of the 150 seats in the Texas House.[3] Jones was defeated for re-nomination in 1972 by cotton farmer Pete Laney of Hale Center, later the House Speaker. After a 12-year absence, Jones returned to the House in 1989 as a Republican.

Delwin L. Jones
Texas State Representative for Lubbock (assorted districts)
In office
1964–1972
Preceded byJ. Collier Adams
Succeeded byPete Laney
Texas State Representative for District 83 (Cochran, Gaines, Hockley, Lubbock, and Yoakum counties)
In office
1989–2011
Preceded byRon Givens
Succeeded byCharles Lee Perry
Personal details
Born(1924-04-02)April 2, 1924
DiedJuly 25, 2018(2018-07-25) (aged 94)
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Reta A. Jones (died 2014)
Alma materTexas Tech University
OccupationBusinessman
Farmer
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army Air Corps
Battles/warsWorld War II

Contents

BackgroundEdit

A Lubbock resident, Jones earned his living from farming and investments. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Tech University. He married Reta A. Jones (July 16, 1923 – March 20, 2014),[4] shortly after the end of his service in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. The two met in Lubbock's only bowling alley at the time. Mrs. Jones was heavily involved in Habitat for Humanity in Lubbock.[5]

Political lifeEdit

Jones's District 83 also included the outlying communities of Levelland, Denver City, Plains, Shallowater, Slaton, and Seminole, Texas. Jones drove through the district over the years in a 1995 Buick Le Sabre, passing out some 800,000 "Delwin Jones" emery boards to remind voters of pending elections. Jones often began his day of politicking meeting voters in some cafe.[2]

At eighty-six, Jones was a candidate for renomination in the April 13, 2010, Republican runoff primary. He was defeated by Charles Perry, an accountant who ran a grass roots campaign with support of the Tea Party movement, also known as "Taxed Enough Already". Perry prevailed with 10,109 votes (57.8 percent) to Jones' 7,392 ballots (42.2 percent). Jones polled 291 more votes in the runoff than he had in the primary, but Perry's total increased by 3,633 ballots over his initial showing.[6]

In the March 2 primary, Jones, backed by the president of the Lubbock Educators Association interest group,[7] led the field with 7,103 ballots (37.7 percent) to Perry's 6,476 (34.4 percent). The third candidate, Zach Brady, with 5,240 votes (27.8 percent), held the key to victory in the Jones-Perry showdown.[8] Brady, a Lubbock attorney, raised more than $250,000 and carried the backing of business interest groups, but he was eliminated from the race by his third-place showing.[7]

Jones had expected to win another term in the legislature on the basis of his name identification and longevity, but he conceded an "undercurrent" of disgruntled taxpayers made the outcome of the race uncertain.[2] Charles Perry then ran unopposed for the House seat in the general election held on November 2, 2010.

In the Republican primary held on May 29, 2012, Jones, at the age of eighty-eight, failed in a bid to unseat Perry. In 2014, Jones entered the special election to fill the seat in the District 28 seat in Texas State Senate vacated by Robert L. Duncan, who became chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. In this race, he again faced Charles Perry as well as several other candidates, including two other Republicans, E. M. Garza and Jodey Arrington, and Democrat Greg Wortham. On August 31, 2014, Jones was listed in critical condition from an undisclosed illness. He was admitted to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.[4] Perry won the election without the need for a runoff and thereby gained seniority over other new state senators who elected on November 4. Jones survived his illness.

In 2015, Jones received the George Mahon Award, named for former U.S. Representative George Mahon, from the Lubbock Professional Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications.[9]

DeathEdit

Jones died at the age of 94. He was interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.[10] Former state Senator Robert Duncan described Jones as "always involved in different types of activities, as a volunteer at the Lions Club, and ... active in the Republican Party, helping the new candidates learn the ropes and understand how to get elected.”[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Texas House District 83: Dewlwin Jones, R-Lubbock". texastribune.org. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Solons feeling the heat", Laredo Morning Times, April 12, 2010, p. 6A.
  3. ^ The only Republican in the Texas House in 1965 was the late Frank Kell Cahoon, a Wichita Falls native who resides still in Midland. In 2012, the Democrats held only 48 of the 150 House seats.
  4. ^ a b Sarah Rafique (August 31, 2014). "SD 28 candidate Delwin Jones in critical condition: Jones served for 30 years in the Texas House of Representatives during two stints". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  5. ^ R. S. Douglas (March 22, 2014). "Reta Jones, wife of former Tex Rep. Delwin, remembered for kindness, Habitat work: Donations to Habitat for Humanity are requested in lieu of flowers". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "Texas Republican runoff primary returns". Texas Secretary of State. April 13, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Election 2010: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". lubbockonline.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
  8. ^ "Texas Republican primary election returns". Texas Secretary of State. March 2, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Longtime Texas legislator Delwin Jones of Lubbock dies at 94". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. July 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "Delwin L. Jones". cemetery.state.tx.us. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
Preceded by
J. Collier Adams
Texas State Representative for
Lubbock County (assorted districts)

Delwin L. Jones
1964–1973

Succeeded by
Pete Laney
Preceded by
Ron Givens
Texas State Representative for
District 83 (Cochran, Gaines, Hockley, Lubbock, and Yoakum counties)

Delwin L. Jones
1989–2011

Succeeded by
Charles Lee Perry