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East Texas college student challenges incumbent for office

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Update: With his name officially on the ballot, an East Texas college student running for public office says he's spending the next two months stumping for votes. However, his opponent is running for re-election, and has held the seat more than 11 years.

"We're going to be door-to-door knocking every single day, so East Texans can expect us there at their door," Noah Butler, a UT Tyler student and candidate for Justice of the Peace Pct. 3, said.

At 23 years old, the political science student decided he wanted to run for Smith County JP Precinct 3, and it is happening.

"We are now on the ballot," Butler said.

And he says what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in energy."I think anyone running for office should be passionate about what they do," Butler said.

That's what his opponent is doing, taking time to fire up his own base.

"I do have signs out, and I'm not done putting signs out," Judge James Meredith, Smith County JP of Pct. 3, said.

Judge Meredith took the position in 2002, and told us what he thinks about going up against Butler.

"He has the right and I know he's probably excited about it. I'm just a little concerned with his experience level that he probably doesn't understand what this position is about," Judge Meredith said.

Meredith says he's most proud of keeping his promise to respond to law enforcement quickly and is confident of getting re-elected. Since they are the only two candidates on the Republican ticket, and with no Democrats running, whoever comes out ahead between Meredith and Butler will get the position.

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SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Noah Butler may not be from Texas, but he got here as fast as he could.

With a pin of the United States flag and Texas flag on his lapel, he told us how he learned in class one day about the role of the Justice of the Peace.

He found out the minimum requirements are to be 18 years of age, live in Texas for one year, and your district for six months.

"I jokingly said, ok, I can run for Justice of the Peace. Well, sure enough, that following Wednesday, we all ended up talking about it and we decided, hey, this isn't a bad idea," said Noah Butler.

That idea turned into Noah running for Justice of the Peace on the republican ticket for Smith County's precinct 3.

The pre-law student says he knows what it takes to represent the young people in his district.

"Right now, I'm fresh. I'm learning law as we speak. Tomorrow, we have to go and sit right down again, right back in our political science classes," explained Butler. 

Noah already has a Face book campaign page with more than 200 likes.

"At this rate, I'm really hoping this is going to be a success," said Butler.

Noah has other students behind him, hoping he'll take the spot.

"When I saw Noah put himself out there for this cause, I had to jump on it," said Chris Amerson. 

Chris Amerson is serving as his campaign manager. He's only 23-years-old, himself.

 "Whenever the next generation is gone. Who's left? The answer lies in us. What's the fate of our country?" said Amerson.

Noah says he has people, from all backgrounds, behind him.

"They're old, young. They are democrats. They are republicans," said Butler.

Noah Butler has to make it on the ballot for the primary election in March.

Judge James Meredith is currently the Justice of the Peace for precinct 3. He's been in that office since 2002.

We haven't heard yet if he's running for re-election.

If Noah makes it to the November election and wins, he would be the youngest JP in Texas.

Noah Butler for Justice of the Peace Facebook Page

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