Rupert Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Districts 3 and 4 each feature herd of new candidates

Most everyone thinks they know about politics, but if we all knew what we thought we knew, then we would be high paid elected officials. Wouldn’t we?

There are two different “herds” running for the Democrat District  3 and 4 supervisors’  spots. Looking at numbers from the campaigns in 2003 may either shed light or further confuse what it will take to win those nominations.

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In District 3 there were four Democrat candidates in 2003, three of whom are among the 10 running for the spot on that ticket this year.

One of those is a former supervisor and board president, Mike Darby. Darby barely missed the runoff being edged out by Gary Kornegay who got 470 to Darby’s 450 votes. The eventual winner, Mac Benson, was the incumbent and garnered the most votes with 576 in the first.

 Benson is not seeking re-election but Larry Key who got 448 votes four years ago has his name on the ticket as do newcomers Tommy Austin, Harold Herron, Brad McCulley, Donnie Shaw, and Melvin Traywick. Former constable Gary Thompson, who also ran for sheriff in 2006, is also a candidate for supervisor.

If the 2003 numbers hold true, it would take approximately 1,000 votes to win the primary on the first ballot, which most think virtually impossible with the large number of candidates.

Benson won the run-off election in 2003 by a margin of 50 votes defeating Kornegay 885  to 835, indicating a 10-to-15 percent decrease in votes cast in the runoff compared to the first primary.

One mystery factor in the race is  “how many votes will newcomer candidates get on the first round?”

How former Benson voters spread their numbers among candidates is also a factor and Republican Month Thomas awaits in November.

District 4 is also heavily populated with supervisor candidates with seven running for Democrat spot.

Incumbent Jerry Perkins is serving his second term and won the 2003 primary by defeating former District 4 Supervisor Calvin Land 1,078 to 684 in the run-off. Perkins lead the first with four challengers receiving 818 votes to Land’s 534, putting them into the run-off ahead of three other candidates.

Land changed party affiliation and will run on the Republican ticket,  assuring him a spot against the winning Democrat in the November general election along with Independent candidate Richard Hubbard.

Other newcomers in this year’s District 4 election include Howard Brower, J. D. Daughtery, Gene Downs, Buddy Holland, Jarrel Mills, and Patricia Tramel. Kelly Morris is throwing his hat in again as he ran for the position prior to 2003.

Again looking at 2003 numbers, it will take approximately 1,000 votes to win the party primary in the first election–which is again probably unlikely with the large field of candidates.

There was also a 10-to-15 percent reduction in voter numbers from the first to the run-off primary election and Perkins won 1,078 to 684 for Land.

Unknowns in this election are also how many votes can the new candidates draw, and how many who voted Democrat in the 2003 for Land will continue to vote Democrat in the  upcoming primary?

Here’s what we do know – there are so many people and personalities running during the primaries in the first round that many feel obligated  to vote for family, neighbors, friends and fellow church members, etc. Issues and qualifications don’t always come into the picture.

Smart candidates will go into survival mode to get in the second. Once finalists are determined for the run-off, deals are made and more serious consideration may be given to qualifications and character.

Two things are certain, it will take less votes than it did previously to get into a run-off, and once the run-off is over, the election continues until November when Democrat and Republican nominees go head to head with Independent candidates in a “high man” wins all contest.