Razor thin margins highlight runoff election
By Paul Keane
In the tightest races in recent memory, Gaston Hutcherson won a runoff by two votes over Henry Cooley while David Mills used absentee ballots to pull ahead of Hal Hayes and take the Democratic nomination in his race by 19 votes Tuesday night.
All of the races on the Democratic primary runoff ballots were nip-and-tuck throughout the evening, with the race for Beat 5 Supervisor highlighting the drama. After all all four boxes and emergency had been tallied, Hutcherson held a slim 501-486 lead. After the absentee ballots were tallied, though, the incumbent and the challenger were deadlock at 545 votes each. That forced election officials to make the unusual decision to go ahead and count the affidavit ballots Tuesday night rather than the tradition of counting them the following morning.
Once the affidavit ballots were counted, Hutcherson edged Hutto by a 547-545 margin.
In the race for Beat 1 Supervisor, Hayes held a 510-491 lead over Mills. Mills brought in 74 absentee ballots to 38 for Hayes. After the four affidavit ballots were counted, Mills came out the winner by a 568-549 margin.
Tommy Roberts also pulled away late to turn back his challenger, Gary Malone. Roberts ended up with 462 votes to 400 total for Malone. In the race for Justice Court Judge, Post 2, challenger Ralph Smith downed incumbent Jane Ross Hutto by a 1,215-988 margin.
In the race for Constable Post 2, Jamey Beard downed Steve Holifield by a 1,150-1,032 margin.
In the Republican party runoff for Public Service Commissioner Southern District, hometown favorite Sam Britton easily carried Wayne County by a 277-53 margin. Britton also won the district wide runoff against Smith and will now head to the November general election to face Democratic nominee Thomas Blanton.
For a complete wrap-up of the election, including precinct-by-precinct breakdowns of the voting, be sure and pick up a copy of Thursday's Wayne County News.
Democratic Primary Runoff
Beat 1 Supervisor
David Mills 568
Hal R. Hayes 549
Beat 4 Supervisor
Tommy E. Roberts 462
Gary Malone 400
Beat 5 Supervisor
Gaston D. Hutcherson 547
Henry Cooley 545
Justice Court Judge, Post 2
Ralph Smith 1,215
Jane Ross Hutto 988
Constable, Post 2
Jamey Beard 1,150
Steve Holifield 1,032
Republican Primary Runoff
Public Service Commissioner, Southern District
Samuel F. "Sam" Britton 277
Tony Smith 53