Democrats dominate Gates County

Published 1:52 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

GATESVILLE – For decades, Gates County voters have opted to favor local candidates affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Nothing changed in that regard during the 2010 General Election.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election revealed Gates County voters overwhelmingly favoring Democrats in the Sheriff and District 1 Commissioner races.

Three-term incumbent Sheriff Edward “Ed” Webb, a Democrat, outdistanced Republican challenger James Gary Ingram. Webb, who earned a fourth term as the county’s highest ranking law enforcement officer, was named on 2,117 ballots (63.5 percent) while Ingram collected 1,217 votes (36.5 percent).

Two political newcomers squared off in the District 1 Commissioner’s race. There, Jack Owens, a Democrat, defeated Jim Miller, a Republican. Owens netted 2,133 votes (64.46 percent) with Miller named on 1,176 ballots (35.54 percent).

“I appreciate the confidence that the citizens of Gates County have placed in me; it’s an absolute pleasure to serve those citizens,” Webb said shortly after the last numbers were posted on a screen inside the county courthouse where a crowd gathered to watch the results.

“I’m looking forward to try to better the Gates County Sheriff’s Office with the best equipment and crime fighting tools to serve and protect our citizens,” Webb continued. “I feel very blessed to have a great staff of officers to work with; I’m very proud of my staff and we, together, are looking forward to serving all Gates County citizens.”

Owens was also pleased with Tuesday’s outcome.

“I’m elated over the election results; this gives me the opportunity to step in and do something I’ve always wanted to do, which is to be a leader in county government,” said Owens, a Gatesville businessman. “I look forward to working with the other incoming commissioner (John Hora of District 2 who ran unchallenged) and the ones already seated.”

As promised during the campaign, Owens said economic growth in Gates County remains his top priority.

“I’m very serious about improving commerce in our county, whether that’s from a retail or commercial investor,” he stated. “I’m also a proponent of operating an efficient form of government, making sure that our tax dollars are going in the right direction and being spent wisely.”

Webb captured five of the six voting precincts, according to the unofficial numbers – Gatesville (286-124), Eure (240-150), Gates (365-253), Sunbury (276-103) and Hobbsville (241-132). He enjoyed a wide margin of victory in the One-Stop balloting (462-148).

Ingram, a retired Norfolk, Va. Police officer, won his home precinct (Corapeake) by a 289-222 margin.

Likewise, Owens led the balloting in five of the six precincts – Gatesville (293-116), Eure (230-155), Gates (371-237), Sunbury (280-96) and Hobbsville (257-110). He also had a decisive edge in the One-Stop voting (468-144).

Miller carried the Corapeake precinct (300-209).

Gates County voters also cast ballots on Tuesday in uncontested local races. Those results were:

District 2 Commissioner – John M. Hora (2,289 votes);

District 3 Commissioner – Kenneth Jernigan (2,342 votes);

Clerk of Court – Nell F. Wiggins (2,554 votes); and

Soil and Water District Conservation District Supervisor…vote for two – Ed Miller III (1,726 votes) and Rick H. Morgan (1,575 votes).

Turnout was listed at 41.59 percent with 3,380 of the county’s 8,126 registered voters casting ballots.

The results are unofficial until the Gates County Board of Elections conducts a canvass of each voting precinct.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal