3 newcomers join Mathews board

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Nov 06, 2019 - 02:54 PM

Photo: Ronald Forrest puts his paper ballot in the vote counting machine at the Westville District polls at Thomas Hunter Middle School during Tuesday’s election. As of 10:45 a.m., 444 of the 2,348 registered Westville voters had cast their ballots. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Ronald Forrest puts his paper ballot in the vote counting machine at the Westville District polls at Thomas Hunter Middle School during Tuesday’s election. As of 10:45 a.m., 444 of the 2,348 registered Westville voters had cast their ballots. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Photo: Piankatank District elector Linda Bradford, left, hands paper ballots to voters Helen Clements, seated, and Betty Rhodes at Mathews High School during Tuesday’s election. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Piankatank District elector Linda Bradford, left, hands paper ballots to voters Helen Clements, seated, and Betty Rhodes at Mathews High School during Tuesday’s election. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Photo: Chesapeake District elector Kirsten Thomas returns voter Timothy Curtis’s identification after he gets checked in to vote at the Chesapeake District polls at Lee-Jackson Elementary School during Tuesday’s election. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Chesapeake District elector Kirsten Thomas returns voter Timothy Curtis’s identification after he gets checked in to vote at the Chesapeake District polls at Lee-Jackson Elementary School during Tuesday’s election. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Mathews County saw a 55 percent voter turnout during the general election on Tuesday, resulting in the election, according to unofficial returns, of three newcomers to the board of supervisors—Paul Hudgins, Melissa Mason and Jackie Ingram.

Incumbent Mike Rowe held onto the seat to which he was appointed last year after former supervisor Pepper Love resigned. He will serve the remaining two years of that term, while the other supervisors-elect will serve four-year terms.

With only a five-vote difference between Ingram and incumbent supervisor G.C. Morrow—1,463 votes versus 1,458—a recount could be on the horizon. Morrow said on Wednesday morning that he was waiting until the vote was certified to decide whether or not he would ask for one.

Mathews County Registrar Carla Faulkner said on Wednesday morning that once the vote is certified candidates have 10 days to ask for a recount. Should one be requested, the Code of Virginia requires that a preliminary hearing be scheduled in Circuit Court within seven days, at which time the election materials other than the ballots may be examined and the judge may set the date for the recount. Should the recount proceed, a team of recount officials is appointed to oversee it, and a three-judge panel is appointed to rule on it. Any costs for a recount are borne by the petitioner.

The election went smoothly, said Faulkner, with no problems and no complaints that she had been made aware of. She said she was preparing to meet with the electoral board to perform the canvass and certify the vote. She expected the results to be certified by late Wednesday morning.

Winning supervisor candidates’ comments 

Rowe said on Tuesday night that it had been “a great day” because Mathews County residents had “made the right choices for the benefit of its citizens.”

Rowe captured 1,385 votes in the special election for the remaining two years of his term, overcoming challenges from Carol J. Bova, with 1,204 votes, and Michael Schramm, with 888.

“I’m glad to work for the citizens of Mathews for the next two years,” he said, “and I will do my best to get things straightened out.” He said he looked forward to working with county staff and other board members to address the county’s problems.

Hudgins, who garnered the largest number of votes in the supervisors’ race at 1,955, said on Wednesday morning that he was “very pleased with the results.”

“I’m pleased that the citizens put their trust in me,” he said. “I will do my best for the citizens to try and solve the problems.”

With so many things on the board’s agenda, Hudgins said it would be hard to say what to address first, but that the board would have to “tackle the most important things first and work our way down.”

“It’s going to take time to get everything worked out,” he said. “You can’t point your finger at one thing.”

Mason, who had the second highest number of votes at 1,668, said she was happy with the results and “glad to see that people used their voice.” She said the first thing she wants to do is get to know the other board members so the board can “form as a team.”

“We have to build trust factors among one another,” she said. “The community wants to see a board that can function together to conduct business effectively and efficiently.”

Ingram said, “I cannot wait to get in a position to start trying to make some changes and make a difference in Mathews.” She said the first thing she wanted to do was to complete projects that have been “on the back burner” so the board can “get new ideas on the table.” She said she wants to look at the zoning ordinance “to see if we can make changes that can offer opportunities for some small business infrastructure.”

“I don’t give up,” said Ingram. “I’ll hang right in there and try to get things done.”

Edwina Casey, who has served on the board for 12 years, came in at fifth place with 1,404 votes, while newcomer Dee Russell had 1,109 votes.

Other candidates

There were three candidates for the three open seats on the Mathews County School Board, and first-time candidate Desmond A. Smith was elected to office with 2,111 votes, behind incumbents Jeanice Sadler, with 2,299 votes and John Priest, with 2,259 votes.

With just one candidate on the ballot for two positions for the Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors, incumbent Ronnie Lewis received 3,030 votes. It is believed that George Rogers, who held a write-in campaign for the other open seat, also won election, although official numbers were not available at press time.

The constitutional officers in Mathews who were up for reelection this year were all unchallenged. Remaining in office for another four years are Sheriff Mark Barrick, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowen, Commissioner of the Revenue Les Hall, and Treasurer Wendy Stewart.