A small win in Ford County was swamped by wide margins in Thomas's favor in the other five district counties.

Winning all but the most populous county in the 16th Judicial District by wide margins, Sidney Thomas defeated Michael Giardine for the district judgeship, and once finalized in the November general election, will replace Judge Daniel Love on the bench.

Giardine took Ford County by 23 votes, 51 percent, according to the unofficial returns. Thomas took Meade County by a margin of 10 points, Gray by 16, Clark by 20, Comanche by 49 and Kiowa by 5. In total, Thomas received 2,494 votes to Giardine's 2,076 — 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent.

It is not likely a counting of provisional ballots would turn the race.

"I'm floored," Thomas said after seeing the poll returns from Ford County, the last to file. "I've had a lot of good help and that's all I have to say."

Thomas ran on a platform of life experience, a broad knowledge of several areas of law and his knowledge of property rights learned while managing his family's farm for several years before resuming practice.

"People got pretty passionate about having someone in there who is fair and balanced and will decide things based on the facts of law," Thomas said.

Information about a near-decade old bench warrant against his opponent was widely disbursed to several state media outlets and county clerks. Giardine returned to his former home in Michigan and the misdemeanor marijuana possession charge was dismissed in lieu of a smaller charge with a $300 fine.

The primary election ended up falling on Thomas's anniversary. "My wife has been my number one supporter and advocate. Without her I wouldn’t have even filed, not have made it through, and wouldn't have won."

Thomas, a resident of Garden City, lives outside the 16th Judicial District but had the backing of a significant number of influential locals.

Giardine, known as a competent prosecutor for Gray County and municipal judge, was broadly supported by local uniformed law enforcement officers.

As no Democratic candidate has registered for the race, it is unlikely Thomas will not assume the bench at the end of the term.

Official vote tallies will be available after a state-wide canvass.