By Brian Graves, News Editor
Saturday, September 14, 2013 —
The results were in by 9:30 p.m. Tuesday for Albemarle’s municipal primary election, and the ballot is set for November’s general election to choose a new mayor and decide which three people will take their place on the city council.
The mayor’s race to determine who will replace retiring Mayor Elbert L. “Whit” Whitley will be between current councilman Ronnie Michael for the Democrats and Chris Bramlett for the Republicans.
Michael defeated David Morgan to win the Democratic nomination by a vote of 671 to 286.
Bramlett received the GOP nod with 254 votes compared to Joe Speight’s total of 137 votes.
Veteran councilwoman Judy Holcomb was able to secure the Democratic nomination for the at-large council seat without worrying about a runoff.
Holcomb received 444 votes — 44.15 percent — keeping runoff prospects from her opponents at bay.
Roosevelt “Chuck” Horne received 280 votes in his effort to unseat Holcomb and George “Eddy” McDaniel got 238 votes.
Holcomb will now face Republican Martha E. Hughes in November’s general election.
Benton H. Dry II coasted to the Democratic nomination for the District 2 council seat.
Dry received 111 votes compared to John R. “Jack” Bell who garnered 32 and Joe Canupp who received 6.
Dry’s nomination sets up a race between him and incumbent Republican councilman Ed Underwood.
November’s ballot will be rounded out by the contest between incumbent Democratic councilman Jack F. Neel and GOP nominee Chris Whitley for the District 4 council seat.
Both of the mayoral candidates said the general election campaign will be spirited, but not mean-spirited.
“I’m looking forward to a good race with Ronnie Michael,” Bramlett said.
“I think the city is probably in for a good race because there are competitive council seats we don’t normally have.”
Bramlett said the race he will run will be a civil one.
“I don’t know how to do it any other way. There’s no reason to do it any other way,” he said.
“These others are all good people trying to do their best for Albemarle, and so am I.”
Michael agreed there was no reason to run a muddied campaign.
“It was a close election, and I’m grateful to all the people who voted, and I hope they’ll continue to support me in November,” Michael said.
“We are all friends and there is no problem there.
“There are no hard feelings either way, and I think it will be a nice, even campaign that will not end with any hard feelings when it’s over with.”
Michael commented on the 13.69 percent voter turnout, which was slightly higher than the previous election.
“You always want to see more than that participate,” he said.
“Obviously, I’d love to see 50 or 60 percent making this decision or even more. But, unfortunately, I think that’s a sign of the times. It’s hard to get people to come out and vote.”
Holcomb said she had worked very hard.
“I’ve been on the council a long time and a lot of people might think, ‘She doesn’t have any energy to do this anymore,’” she said.
“Well, I have to run hard every time I run because I’m good on council and I know it.”
Holcomb said the incumbency sometimes can be a hindrance because “a lot of people may think 24 years is too long.”
“But I know I wouldn’t be elected if I wasn’t working for the people,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what party. If something’s right, I’m going to vote for it and I’m not bashful about doing that.”
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 5 general election is Oct. 11.
To submit story ideas, contact Brian at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or brian@ stanlynewspress.com.