Incumbents sweep in Hertford County

Published 3:25 pm Thursday, May 10, 2012

WINTON – All three incumbent Hertford County Commissioners will be returning to duty.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s Democratic Primary inHertfordCounty, Commissioners Howard J. Hunter III and William F. “Bill” Mitchell will be reelected to their posts. Commissioner Ronald J. Gatling likely will also return to office, though a runoff is still an outside possibility pending the traditional canvas of all precincts by the county’s Board of Elections in the three-person race.

In the District 1 race, Hunter took almost 66 percent of the vote according to the tallies released Tuesday. Hunter had 3,302 votes compared to 1,721 for Byron Simonds.

“I am honored by the continued support of the people ofHertfordCounty,” Hunter said. “I appreciate their vote of confidence in me and allowing me to continue to serve.”

Hunter said he was proud of the fact the county’s citizens had shown their support for the work he has done while in office.

“I have worked hard since the day I was elected and I plan to continue to do just that,” he added. “I also want to express my appreciation to Mr. Simonds for his campaign and commend him for his desire to serve the people ofHertfordCounty.”

In earning his third term in office, Hunter won 11 of the 13 precincts and all three one-stop voting sections as well as mail balloting.

Hunter’s reelection came to a large extent based on One-Stop voting and his landslide election in Ahoskie 3. Hunter won the Winton One-Stop Voting by a count of 512 to 215,Murfreesboro316 to 121 and Ahoskie 300 to 133.

His victory in the Ahoskie 3 precinct was 273-28.

Hunter also won in Ahoskie 1 (247-226), Ahoskie 2 (209-194), Bryantville (113-15),Como(71-51), Cofield (123-28),Murfreesboro1 (282-189),Murfreesboro2 (198-76),St. John(156-63),Union(128-89) and Winton (163-71).

Simonds won two precincts – Harrellsville (118-107) and Millennium (80-63).

Mitchell also claimed victory in his bid to seek a second term after winning 10 of 13 precincts and all three One-Stop voting centers. Mitchell finished with 2,503 votes while David Pope finished second with 1,566. Former Commissioner Brenda Green finished third with 892 votes.

“I was humbled by the support that I received in the May 8th election,” Mitchell said. “I thank those who supported me as well as those who took part in the democratic process.  I would like to congratulate all the winners.

“Additionally, I complement those who made a valiant effort at running for the position ofCountyCommissioner,” he added. “An energy was created inHertfordCountythat we have never seen before. Now it is time for us to continue the course of makingHertfordCountythe best place we can for our families.

The incumbent Commissioner from District 3 fared just as well in Ahoskie 3 as Hunter did. Mitchell garnered 224 votes in a three-person race compared to 56 for Greene and 17 for Pope. Mitchell also won the One-Stop voting in Ahoskie with 241 votes while garnering 365 in at the Winton location and 232 inMurfreesboro. Pope finished second in all of the One-Stop locations garnering 238 votes in Winton, 116 inMurfreesboroand 113 in Ahoskie. Greene had 136 votes in Winton, 96 inMurfreesboroand 70 in Ahoskie.

Mitchell won 10 precincts. Other than Ahoskie 3, he took Ahoskie 1 (200 votes), Bryantville (94),Como(51), Cofield (66),Murfreesboro1 (223),Murfreesboro2 (166),St. John(124),Union(102) and Winton (114).

Pope won the other three precincts, carrying Ahoskie 2 with 178 votes compared to 159 for Mitchell and 58 for Greene as well as Harrellsville (113) and Millennium (90).

Greene’s best finish was in Ahoskie 3, Bryantville and Cofield where she finished second in each race.

According to unofficial results Gatling will also retain his seat. Preliminary tabulations give him more than the 40 percent plus one vote required to avoid a runoff, but he is just 123 votes ahead of second-place finisher Justin Freeman. Gatling had an unofficial tally of 2,049 votes while Freeman had 1,926. Retiring Register of Deeds Kathleen Wright had 1,014.

Gatling said he was thankful for the support he received, but did not declare victory.

“I am very appreciative of all the support I received during the election,” he said. “At this time we will continue to serve the people ofHertfordCountywhile we await the final results.”

It was One-Stop voting that was the best for Gatling as he won all three of those polling places.

On Election Day, Freeman topped the balloting in seven of the county’s 13 precincts while Gatling won the other six.

Gatling claimed victory in the Winton One-Stop voting by a count of 325 to 249 for Freeman and 163 for Wright. The incumbent had 193 votes in Ahoskie for One-Stop compared to 145 for Freeman and 90 for Wright. InMurfreesboro, Gatling had 208 votes at the One-Stop site with Freeman having 125 and Wright 94.

The incumbent commissioner won Ahoskie 3 with 188 votes. Wright finished second with 74 and Freeman had 41.

Gatling also topped the Bryantville precinct with 89 votes as well as Cofield (72),Murfreesboro2 (132),St. John(112) and Winton (92).

Freeman took Ahoskie 1 with 257 votes compared to 145 for Gatling and 71 for Wright and Ahoskie 2 where he received 230 votes. Freeman also won inComo(55), Harrellsville (119),Murfreesboro1 (207), Millennium (106) andUnion(105).

Wright’s best finish was in Ahoskie 3, Cofiled and Millennium, all in which she finished second.