Election marks few clear winners

Abbi Overfelt Editor

November 5, 2013

LAURINBURG — Hundreds of votes rolled in to the Scotland County elections office Tuesday night, but not enough to make for clear winners in the county’s two contested municipal races.

Provisional votes could decide two races in Gibson, where only six votes separate mayoral candidates and two council members were tied with 71 votes.

Provisional ballots could also “shift” results in East Laurinburg where votes were close, according to Dell Parker, the county’s elections director.

Those votes will be counted Thursday at 10 a.m.

There are nine such ballots yet to be counted in Gibson, where incumbent Mayor Ronnie Hudson and challenger Myra Jean Tyndall received 82 and 76 votes respectively.

Those nine votes could also be the deciding factor between council hopefuls Charles Frederick Webb and Mack (Pete) Wilkins, who will vie for the third seat on the board. If the provisional ballots do not make a clear winner, Parker said the elections board will draw one of their names from a “hat.”

Lula Adelle Cottingham received the most votes of any candidate, at 84, and Ken Haney received 74.

In East Laurinburg, David Cooper received 32 votes, Tyresa M. Haywood, 23 and Cleon Robinson Jr., 26, with May Rachel Hines and a write-in candidate whose name was not immediately available received 15 and 11 votes, respectively. It is unclear how many provisional ballots remain to be counted in those races.

Mayor Wayne Caulder ran unopposed and received 41 votes.

Races in Laurinburg and Wagram were uncontested, although Wagram council members vie for a either or two-year or a four-year appointment. Jackie Wayne Laviner was reappointed to a two-year-term with 24 votes, while Hyder Massey Jr. received 26 and Robert McLaughlin received 25.

Twenty-eight votes were cast for incumbent Mayor Milton W. Farmer. Wagram was the only race which did not see any write-in candidates.

Laurinburg City council at-large candidate Dolores “Dee” Hammond received 463 votes. The former city clerk was waiting Tuesday night for the results outside the county’s courthouse along with Drew Williamson, who ran unopposed for District 2 and received 306 votes.

“I’m excited,” Hammond said. “I worked for the city for nearly 30 years and it’s going to be both exciting and challenging to be on the other side of the fence.”

One of the challenges facing city council, Hammond said, is the issue, raised by the Gryphon Group, of allowing military training facilities in industrial zones. The action the council will take this month will decide how much Hammond’s role will matter, as she won’t be sworn in until December, but Hammond remained mum on her thoughts on the matter.

“… Then I will have to research all the facts and consider the facts,” she said.

Williamson, also running for the first time, said he was not quite sure what to expect.

“It’s always nice when you’re unopposed, obviously, but I’m just looking forward to getting cranked up and getting started,” he said.