A bruising 11 1/2-week race between Paul Lilly, the Republican Party nominee for Brown County Judge, and write-in challenger Steve Fryar was, for all practical purposes, over a few minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Lilly was massively and insurmountably in the lead when elections officials announced the results of early voting. The final unofficial count showed Lilly with a pounding victory, receiving 8,249 votes (79.17 percent) to Fryar’s 2,171 votes (20.82 percent). In the May school board election, Ben McInnes, Teri S. Murphree, Bo E. Allen and Charles “Chuck” Woods were the top four finishers and won seats on the board. In the local option alcohol sales election, voters approved the measure with 80 percent voting in favor. At the Brown County Elections office, Lilly, who teaches criminal justice classes at Howard Payne University, accepted congratulations from several supporters when the early voting numbers were released. Those numbers showed it was virtually certain that Lilly would finish the night with a victory over Fryar, a Brownwood businessman. “As a professor, I speak for a living,” Lilly said. “It’s very unusual, very rare, that you find a professor speechless. I’m humbled and at a loss for words to express how deeply honored I feel, and my gratitude to all the supporters — which, according to (Elections Administrator Larry Franks) may be the largest margin in Brown County history. “How do you respond to that? I’m so deeply honored. It’s going to be a new day. Judge West is still our judge for the next two months, and he’ll be retiring, and we’ll pass the torch. It’ll be an exciting time, a very bright future for Brown County.” Fryar, reached by phone later Tuesday night, said he’d known he had “two huge mountains” to overcome in the race — running as a write-in, which historically is not a successful path to office, and the likelihood that many voters would cast straight-ticket Republican ballots. But Fryar said he’d expected to win. Fryar said he has no regrets and thanked his supporters. When asked if he had a message for Lilly, Fryar replied, “I hope Lilly makes us a good county judge. He’d better.” Lilly said he thought the county judge’s race, as well as the U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, generated the large Brown County turnout. “What Larry’s telling me, for a midterm election, this is the largest number we’ve ever had,” Lilly said. “So that’s remarkable, isn’t it?” Lilly said he hadn’t been confident of victory, noting that Fryar had outspent him and had hired a political consultant. “So by no means was I certain,” Lilly said. “I think a lot of this had to do with, a lot of people took it very personal — even though the write-in candidate was legal, it didn’t make it right, and I think a lot of people felt that it was disrespecting the primary process. That also sparked a lot of people to come out. Lilly said he had no message for Fryar specifically, but said, “it’s a new day in Brown County, and our voters, our citizens, have said ‘no more.’ A line has been drawn in the sand. They don’t want the negative campaigning. They don’t want the personal attacks. They want candidates who are qualified, and are going to stand up and explain to them, what and how they’re going to do to try to make their lives better, and keep taxes low, and do all that they can within the powers of that particular office.” In the federal and state races, Brown County voters preferred Ted Cruz for U.S. senate, who received 86.65 percent of the local vote; Mike Conaway for U.S. representative (86.7 percent); Greg Abbott for governor (86.83 percent) Dan Patrick for lieutenant governor (82.65 percent); Ken Paxton for attorney general (844 percent); Glen Hegar for comptroller (86 percent); George P. Bush for commission of general land office (83.82 percent); Sid Miller for commissioner of agriculture (85.28 percent); and Christi Craddock for railroad commissioners (85.89 percent).