Washington election: Four incumbents retain their seats

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Roland Wyman will assume the Washington City Council seat now held by Larry Beeman, according to initial vote totals from Tuesday’s election and the early voting period.

Incumbents Virginia Finnerty, Richard Brooks, William Pitt and Doug Mercer retained their seats. Finnerty was the high vote-getter with 756 votes, followed by Brooks with 699 votes, Pitt with 640 votes, Wyman with 546 votes and Mercer with 528 votes.

Out of the running were Gil Alligood, 502 votes; Bill Clark, 498 votes; John Butler, 483 votes; Gil Davis, 395 votes; Robert Sands, 353 votes and Gerald Seighman, 268 votes. There is the possibility of a recount, if certain criteria are met.

Mayor Mac Hodges, running unopposed, retained his seat.

“I’m feeling very optimistic about and looking forward to working with the council,” Wyman said Tuesday night.

Wyman, asked why voters supported him, said, “Basically, I was able to deliver a clear message. It was well received.”

Wyman said there are “outstanding issues” he wants to address with assistance from other council members. “All of the outstanding issues discussed during the campaign will certainly be on my list of things we will be looking at,” he said.

Vote totals released by the Beaufort County Board of Elections Tuesday night are unofficial. The three-member board is scheduled to canvass the votes and make decisions regarding provisional ballots at 11 a.m. Nov. 17. Votes marked on provisional ballots approved by the board are added to the vote totals from early voting and Election Day.

Of the candidates supported by Beaufort County Indivisible — Finnerty, Pitt, Clark, Butler and Sands — only Finnerty and Pitt were elected, according to unofficial vote totals. Beaufort County Indivisible had volunteers at polling places in the city handing out campaign literature for candidates it endorsed.

In some races, recounts could be conducted. A county board of elections has the authority to conduct discretionary recounts, unless the N.C. Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has ruled otherwise.

“In a ballot item within the jurisdiction of the county board of elections, a candidate shall have the right to demand a recount of the votes if the difference between the votes for that candidate and the votes for a prevailing candidate is not more than one percent (1%) of the total votes cast in the ballot item, or in the case of a multiseat ballot item not more than one percent (1%) of the votes cast for those two candidates,” reads the section of the North Carolina General Statutes covering elections. “The demand for a recount must be made in writing and must be received by the county board of elections by 5:00 P.M. on the first business day after the canvass. The recount shall be conducted under the supervision of the county board of elections.”

Hodges and the successful candidates are scheduled to take their oaths of office during the council’s Dec. 11 meeting. Each will serve a two-year term. If the council follows tradition, the council member with the highest vote total would be elected mayor pro tempore, conducting council meetings if the mayor is absent.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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