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A Runoff for Final Avery Commissioner Possible; Provisional Ballots, Recount Could Swing School Board

By Jesse Wood

May 7, 2014. Recount and runoff possibilities exist in two Avery County races. The two scenarios are laid out below.

Potential Avery County Board of Commissioners Runoff

In Avery County, commissioner candidate Faye Lacey can request a runoff in an attempt to secure the third seat on the Avery County Board of Commissioners. Below are the unofficial results from the primary election.

  • Blake Vance – 15.01 percent (1,394 votes)
  • Maxine Harmon Laws – 13.82 percent (1,268 votes)
  • Kenny Regan Poteat (I) – 12.45 percent (1,176 votes)
  • Faith Lacey – 11.84 percent (1,094 votes)
  • Kevin Benfield – 10.17 percent (998 votes)
  • Glenn Johnson – 10 percent (968 votes)
  • Clayton A. Harpold – 8.74 percent (771 votes)
  • Phyllis Forbes – 8.36 percent (812 votes)
  • John A. Millan – 6.61 percent (629 votes)
  • Powell Glidewell – 3.01 percent (295 votes)

Avery County Board of Elections Director Sheila Ollis said that while Blake Vance and Maxine Harmon Laws have secured the top two spots because of “plurality” of votes, Lacey can request a runoff because she is within one percent of unofficial third-place finisher and incumbent Kenny Poteat.

“She has nine days from the day of the election counting Saturday and Sunday to request in writing – by noon from yesterday – that she wants to have a runoff,” Ollis said.

Lacey couldn’t be reached on Wednesday morning for comment.

Potential Avery County Board of Education Recount

In Avery County, three candidates are running for two spots on the Avery County Board of Education. While Steve H. Smith secured a seat on the school board with 34.25 percent of the vote, the second spot is still up in the air because Robert D. Clark holds a mere four-vote edge on John Glenn Hicks. See unofficial vote totals below. 

  • Steve H. Smith – 34.25 percent (2,133 votes)
  • Robert D. Clark – 32.63 percent (2,032 votes)
  • John Glenn Hicks – 32.56 percent (2,028 votes)

Ollis said that Hicks can request a recount because of the closeness of the race, but he must request the recount to the Avery County Board of Education by 5 p.m. on the first business day after canvass, which takes place on May 13.

Ollis added that because the school board is a nonpartisan race, a runoff can’t be requested by Hicks. However, she added that because only four votes separate Hicks and Clark, it’s possible that provisional ballots counted during canvass could also swing the race in Hicks’ favor – or extend Clark’s lead.

“All of these provisionals could bump him up,” Ollis said.

Ollis said that provisional ballots haven’t been counted, but the total will be more than four.

See listing of unofficial results of races on Avery and Watauga County ballots.