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Clark romps in race for Sheriff / November 07, 2019
Halifax County voters changed the makeup of the Board of Supervisors and School Board on Election Day, but in the race for Sheriff they made an overwhelming decision to stick with the familiar.

Sheriff Fred Clark garnered nearly 85 percent of the vote to dispatch challenger John Tanner in what was the only contested race for local constitutional office on the ballot. Clark won his third term in office by handily taking all 21 county precincts.

Clark received 8,629 total votes to 1,511 for Tanner, a former county deputy and veteran law enforcement officer. Clark’s best precinct was Liberty, site of the country store he once ran, where 91 percent of voters (242-23) favored his re-election. Tanner’s best precinct was his home base in Clover, which went to his rival by a 77-23 margin, with Clark gaining 377 votes and Tanner taking 111 votes.

“Thanks to all who voted for me, without you this would not be possible. I love Halifax County and I pledge to continue serving each of you to the best of my ability,” stated Clark in response to Tuesday’s outcome.

The sheriff pledged to work harder to gain the support of those who voted for his opponent and “to keep building on the foundation we started eight years ago of keeping Halifax County safe.”

Tanner also issued a statement on Election Day night: “Let us unify and work for a safer and better county. Rather than divide and close our minds to positive change, let us embrace it. Let us do what’s right because it’s right, not because we are scared of getting caught.

“Let’s remember it takes a village to raise our children and live life accordingly,” he said.

The drama of the sheriff’s race drained away quickly as the initial returns rolled in Tuesday, whereas for the other candidates for constitutional office — all incumbents — there was no drama from the start.

Commissioner of Revenue Brenda Powell took 8,662 votes in her bid for re-election, with a smattering of votes — 751 — going to local real estate agent Ken Buckley. Buckley qualified for the race but later withdrew, too late to strike his name from the ballot.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin, running unopposed for a second four-year term, took 8,266 votes. Treasurer Ruth Oakes was the night’s top vote getter, with 9,055 people supporting her candidacy.

In the uncontested race for three seats on the Soil and Water Conservation District board, Larry Layman took 6,860 votes, Bruce Pearce got 4,660 votes and Blair Hall took 4,258 votes. All will go on the board as SWCD directors.

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