Thomas, Warren, Hedrick among Gloucester winners

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Nov 06, 2019 - 02:46 PM

Photo: Gloucester voter Linda Tingle, right, is assisted by election official Emily Sue Jones at the Courthouse Precinct Tuesday morning, which was held at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Gloucester voter Linda Tingle, right, is assisted by election official Emily Sue Jones at the Courthouse Precinct Tuesday morning, which was held at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Gloucester County voters returned incumbents to the posts of treasurer, sheriff and Gloucester Point representative on the county’s board of supervisors, while choosing Republican Mike Hedrick over his independent opponent for the open county board seat in the Ware district.

Statewide, while the General Assembly switched from Republican to Democratic (see related story), representatives in the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia remained unchanged for Gloucester and Mathews counties.

Gloucester results

In Gloucester, Republican Tara Thomas, longtime treasurer, easily retained her seat, capturing 63 percent of the overall vote, compared to her opponent, Penny Kemp Smith, capturing just 37 percent. It was a similar case for sheriff, as incumbent Darrell Warren, also a Republican, received 86 percent of the county’s vote, compared to his opponent James DeBaun, receiving just 14 percent of the vote.

In contested board of supervisor races, incumbent Gloucester Point district supervisor Chris Hutson, a Republican, will retain his seat on the board after receiving 53 percent of that district’s vote. His opponent, Damien Kelly, received 47 percent of voters’ support.

Meanwhile, in the Ware district, Hedrick will be the new face on the board following the retirement of Andy James. Hedrick received 57 percent of that district’s vote, while his opponent, Mike Bartley, received 44 percent.

Two individuals had launched write-in campaigns for the Abingdon district seat on the Gloucester School Board. Though there were 866 write-in votes recorded for that district, the winner will not be declared until after a canvass of the votes is completed. 

As far as uncontested races in Gloucester, Jo Anne Harris will become the county’s next Commissioner of the Revenue following the retirement of Kevin Wilson. Also, John Dusewicz will be the next Commonwealth’s Attorney for Gloucester. 

Ashley Chriscoe will retain his at-large seat on the county’s board of supervisors while Robert “JJ” Orth will remain the Abingdon district representative on the board. 

Robin Rice will continue to serve on the school board, but as an at-large member; Troy Andersen will remain the Gloucester Point district representative on the school board, and Darren Post will represent the Ware District on the school board. 

Finally, both Keith Horsley and Daniel Rilee will retain their seats as Soil and Water Conservation district directors for the Tidewater District.

Thomas said she was “relieved” Wednesday morning, adding, “I am so appreciative of all the support I received. This was a tough race and I’m overwhelmed.”

“It came down to the wire,” Hutson said of his win. “I think support came out that we’re moving the county in the right direction. I think my competitor thought change was needed on the board, but the citizens of Gloucester Point didn’t think change was necessary.”

Warren thanked the voters for their trust and faith in him to serve as sheriff for another term. “I love what I do and it is a privilege to work each day with the dedicated men and women that make up your sheriff’s office team,” Warren said. “My family and I greatly appreciate your votes and support.”

“It was an honor to meet so many citizens that make up the Gloucester Point District over the last seven months of our campaign,” Kelly said following his unsuccessful bid for county supervisors. Kelly said he was pleased with the way he ran his campaign. “We focused on the issues impacting our district and our county as a whole,” he said. “Although we did not come out where we wanted to on Election Day, I am extremely proud of my team that worked so hard to get where we were.”

The Gazette-Journal attempted to reach other candidates in the election, but was unable to make contact with them prior to press time.

Statewide races

Though the General Assembly has changed over to a Democratic majority, Republican Tommy Norment easily retained his seat representing Gloucester as part of Virginia’s 3rd District in the State Senate. Norment received 62 percent of his district’s vote, compared to his opponent Herb Jones, a Democrat, receiving 38 percent of the vote.

Though Norment didn’t address his own win specifically in a statement he released Tuesday night, he did address the changeover in Senate control. In part, Norment, who serves as Senate Majority Leader, said, “Today, the people of Virginia made their voices heard by voting in elections that were hard-fought and spirited. Obviously, tonight’s results were not what we wanted, but we respect the judgment of the voters when we prevail and on those occasions when we do not.”

Democrat Lynwood Lewis, who represents Mathews in the 6th Senate district, kept his seat, received 60 percent of the district’s vote. His opponent, Elizabeth Lankford, a Republican, received 40 percent of the vote.

In the House of Delegates, Republican Keith Hodges easily retained his seat representing the 98th district. Hodges captured 69 percent of the district’s vote, while his Democratic opponent, Ella Webster, captured just 31 percent of the vote.

After visiting all 31 precincts in the district, Hodges said, “It truly was a remarkable day in the 98th District. Everywhere I turned, people were smiling and having fun. It just shows how we can all come together to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy and the right to vote. Thank you everyone for coming out today and showing your support.”

In Gloucester, voter turnout was at 43 percent Tuesday compared to 27 percent in 2015, which was the last local election. Gloucester’s voter registrar Bobbi Morgan said that there were no reported issues at the polls on Tuesday. However, election results were a little late coming in because Morgan had an unfortunate situation of contracting the norovirus in the middle of the night Monday. 

Despite trying to do her best to keep functioning, the chairman of the electoral board required her to return home for the safety of her staff. “My deputies had not done reporting before, and we were operating on a new system,” Morgan said.

Despite that, Morgan thanked the Gloucester community for coming out to cast their votes. “And thank you to all the amazing election officers that served our community,” she added. “We could not do this without you!”

—Melany Slaughter contributed to this article.