Hall and Dry emerge victorious, claim seats on Albemarle City Council
In the 5-person race for two seats on the Albemarle City Council, one incumbent won reelection while another was edged out by a former council member.
Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall, seeking a fifth term on the council, was victorious Tuesday night, taking home 33 percent of the total electorate with 3,864 votes. Benton Dry, who had served on the council for five years before losing in 2018, narrowly defeated incumbent Chris Bramlett Tuesday night by 28 total votes. Dry took 21.22 percent of the vote compared to Bramlett’s 20.98 percent.
Challengers Tim “TJ” Morgan received about 18 percent of the vote while Matt Tracy received 5 percent of the vote.
Hall’s victory was especially comprehensive. She received the most votes at each of the city’s eight precincts and also had a significant edge in all three voting methods: early voting, mail-in ballots and on Election Day.
“I’m very humbled that the citizens of Albemarle continue to place their trust and vote of confidence in me,” she said, adding that she doesn’t “take it lightly” the responsibility that the citizens have again placed in her hands.
“I continue to pledge to listen, to lead, to question, to plan, to be present and to serve,” she added.
She thanked all of her friends, family and volunteers who worked to help her get reelected. “I had a phenomenal team of volunteers in my camp,” she said.
While Bramlett received a roughly 100-vote edge in Election Day votes, Dry ultimately won thanks to advantages accrued in early voting and voting by mail.
“Obviously it was a close race and I don’t know that anybody could ever had called it like it was,” said Dry, who co-owns Dun-Rite Cleaners with his brother Mark. “Chris always runs a good race and he’s still a good friend.”
He added: “The people have spoken and I’m certainly pleased that they have shown confidence in me.”
Bramlett, who works at Starnes Jewelers and has been on the council since 2015, knew it wouldn’t be easy against Dry, due to his past experience on the council and the fact that he’s well-liked and popular in the community.
“I knew it would be an uphill battle and he ran a very good and smart race,” Bramlett said about Dry’s win. “The city is in very good hands.”
In addition to the competitive victories for Hall and Dry, Mayor Ronnie Michael, and council members Dexter Townsend, representing District 1, and Bill Aldridge, representing District 3, each won reelection, though they all ran unopposed.
Michael, who served 11 years as the city’s police chief, was first elected to the city council in 2011 before becoming mayor two years later.
Townsend was first appointed to the council in January 2009, to fill the seat of the late councilman Tim White. He’s the third elected African American in the city’s history along with White and Tidus Stanback.
Aldridge was first appointed to the City Council in 2014 to complete Ronnie Michael’s term. He was elected to represent the citizens of District 3 in 2016.