Three ballot boxes from Precinct 4 were the last to trickle in Tuesday night.
But even before they were tallied, Gaylord Kennedy had built up a large lead over his two opponents in the Precinct 4 commissioner’s race. The trend that showed up in the early vote held true as Kennedy ran away with the race once the election-day votes were all in.
“I’m looking forward to November and the general election – I’m ready to go,” Kennedy said. “It makes me feel really good and that I have a good start for the fall. I’d like to thank all the voters and citizens of Precinct 4 that supported me.”
Kennedy received 981, or 59 percent, of the votes cast. In order to avoid a runoff election, Kennedy just needed 50 percent plus one of the votes.
“I was hoping to win outright,” Kennedy said. “I thought I might have a good chance. But there are other factors. It’s a race with two other guys, and you never know. But I feel good that so many people gave me their support.”
Although suspended from office since August 2012, incumbent Terry Ross still had some support from the voters. He received 319, or 19 percent, of the Republican votes in the precinct.
Candidate David Stewart received 351, 21 percent, of the vote.
“I was really disappointed with the voter turnout,” Stewart said. “I thought the numbers would be higher. I also thought more people would vote against Terry (Ross).
“It was my first time to run. I learned a few things. I’ll be back in four years, and I plan to do a lot better.”
Ross was unavailable for comment.
With the primary in the past, Kennedy can now look forward to the general election and what he can bring to the county.
“I was in the construction business my whole life,” said Kennedy, who already works for Precinct 4. “I know the county. I know the roads. I’m ready to step right into that.”
Kennedy also said his 12 years as a member of the Bridgeport school board would help him in the position.
“My experience on the school board is going to help me with work in the courthouse,” he said. “Some of the work I did there, such as bond issues and setting the tax rate, runs parallel to the office. I can do this.”
Kristina Kemp, the sole Democratic candidate for the position, ran unopposed in the primary. She said she’s looking forward to the general election in November.
“I was ready regardless of who the winner was,” Kemp said. “I had a feeling it was going to be Gaylord. He’s been a part of the community for a long time. I think it’s going to be a good race, and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m glad the voters came out in the Republican race and voted for who they thought would be the best candidate for them.”
With the vast majority voting Republican, Kemp garnered 148 votes in the Democratic primary.
“Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get out there and talk with more voters – let them know I have what it takes to get the job done,” Kemp said.
“Honesty, integrity and accountability,” is what Kemp said the voters in her precinct are looking for. “It’s everything that always should have been required of the position. And I think it was, but at some point it just slipped through the cracks.”