REMATCH: Coleman and Whitney to vie for Sheriff seat

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2018

It’s (almost) official.

Republican incumbent Ernie Coleman and Democrat Al J. Whitney will face off in a rematch election this November for the title of Beaufort County Sheriff. As polls closed Tuesday evening in the primary elections, the two celebrated with family and friends; a short celebration before looking to the general election.

On the Republican ticket, incumbent Sheriff Ernie Coleman and challenger Donald Dixon faced off in a rematch of the 2014 primaries with slightly fewer candidates. In Tuesday’s contest Coleman ran away with the race, taking a strong lead over Dixon during early voting into Tuesday’s election. While Coleman earned 2,960 votes, Dixon ended up with 868.

“I didn’t expect to win the percentage the way I did,” Coleman said in an interview afterwards. “I ran a clean race and didn’t say a negative thing… I’m very pleased with the numbers. It’s been a hard two or three months.”

In the Democratic camp, three candidates, Al J. Whitney, Petre Earl Franks, Sr., and William Chrismon faced off for a shot at the county’s top law enforcement office. Whitney was the top vote getter of the day, bringing in 1,789 votes. Chrismon and Franks earned 1,100 and 642 votes, respectively.

“I’m very happy about the results,” Whitney said in a post-election interview. “I expected (a rematch). It’s time for a change. In 2014, I got my name out there and kind of knew what direction I wanted to go. It’s just the best to be back here again.”

Both Coleman and Whitney won their respective primaries in 2014 following runoff elections in July. When the general election came, Coleman won by approximately 9 percent, with 10,510 votes to Whitney’s 7,241.

All vote totals remain unofficial until the Beaufort County Board of Elections completes canvassing on May 18.