Voters OK board incumbents

Published 2:51 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Staff Writer

Beaufort County voters returned three incumbent county commissioners to office Tuesday, declining to shift the board’s balance of power in party affiliation or membership.
The top vote-getter was Republican Stan Deatherage of Washington, who finished the night with 3,921 votes.
Behind Deatherage was Republican Al Klemm of Washington, who scored 3,492 votes.
In third was Democrat Ed Booth of Washington, who tallied 3,341 votes.
Booth, Klemm and Deatherage will retain their seats, the three that were open for challenges this year.
Following Booth was fourth-place finisher and Washington Democrat Jerry Evans with 1,875 votes.
In fifth was Democrat Sonya Shamseldin of Pinetown with 1,722 votes, followed by the sixth-place finisher, unaffiliated hopeful Bertie Arnhols of Aurora, with 1,145 votes.
All vote totals are unofficial until finalized by the Beaufort County Board of Elections on Nov. 12.
“I’m shocked I’d be ahead at this point, especially with so many huge issues on the table right now,” Deatherage said after viewing election returns from around 18 of the county’s 21 precincts. “And in some sectors I know I’m not terribly popular, but I’m somewhat shocked that the voters have saw fit to keep me in office. I intend to not let them down and to continue exactly what I’ve done in the past into the future.”
Klemm said he was “surprised how strong all the incumbents ran.”
“I was just surprised,” he added. “I thought the votes would have been more evenly split. … It just says that the various constituencies think their candidate is doing their job for them.”
Booth said he felt “great.”
“It’s been a big turnout, and people really trusted us with the way we were running the county,” he commented. “I was honest with people, and I’m going to continue to be honest with people. This was a tough year.”
Evans couldn’t be reached for comment immediately Tuesday night.
Shamseldin, who ran in 2008 as well, said she continues to run “because I think that I am worthy and I really feel like still that the county needs representation.”
“We’re still left with the same three that were there,” she pointed out.
Shamseldin added she would have loved to see more diversity on the board this year.
“I’ve been one of the stronger women candidates to come along in a very long time, and that makes me very happy,” she stated.
Arnhols called her last-place ending “disappointing.”
“I was certainly hoping it was going to be a lot closer than it was, let’s put it that way,” she said. “I think it’s very hard to knock out the incumbents with the process we have.”
She said she doesn’t intend to run for county commissioner again.
“In other words, I gave it my very best shot,” she said. “If it had been a lot closer, I would have considered doing it again.”