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Witt, Hill lose as voters give local boards an Election Day makeover / November 07, 2019
Tuesday was a rough day for incumbent candidates running for re-election to the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and School Board in the face of opposition.

Board of Supervisors chairman Dennis Witt was ousted by challenger Ronnie Duffey in ED-4, while incumbent trustee Orey Hill lost his ED-1 School Board seat to Patricia “Kathy” Fraley.

Duffey prevailed in his race with 715 votes, with Witt receiving 631 votes — a 53-47 split.

In the Nathalie-area trustees contest, Fraley took 673 votes to 515 votes for Hill — a 57-43 margin of victory for the challenger.

Both local governing boards were already in line for Election Day makeovers with a number of open seats on the ballot.

New members on the Board of Supervisors will include Calvin “Ricky” Short, who easily captured the ED-1 seat held by outgoing supervisor J.T. Davis. Short took 1,099 to far surpass the 46 write-in votes for Darby McGeorge, who mounted a write-in candidacy.

In ED-5, where Joey Rogers opted not to run for re-election, Dean Throckmorton prevailed over Jimmy Wade by more than a 2-1 margin — 913 votes to 400 votes for Wade.

With Tuesday’s outcome, the eight-member Board of Supervisors will gain three new faces: Short, Duffey and Throckmorton.

The School Board also will welcome three newcomers in 2020, in ED-1 winner Fraley.

In a contested race for an open School Board seat, in ED-7, Keith McDowell narrowly defeated Vincent Newton, 729 votes to 714 votes. McDowell will succeed Monty Lowery, who chose not to run for re-election.

McDowell’s victory margin was easily the tightest on Election Day, with 50.5 percent of the vote and Newton garnering a 49.4 share.

The other School Board newcomer is Jason “Jay” Camp, running unopposed for the open ED-4 seat with the July resignation of former trustees chairman Joe Gasperini. Camp took 1,172 votes.

Elsewhere, county voters returned unopposed incumbents to the Board of Supervisors and School Board for four-year terms.

For Board of Supervisors, Garland Ricketts (ED-7) and William Bryant Claiborne (ED-8) received votes of confidence. Ricketts garnered 1,291 votes and Claiborne took 670 votes.

For School Board, incumbents running unopposed were Freddie Edmunds Sr. in ED-5 and Walter Potts in ED-8. Edmunds received 1,127 votes and Potts got 669.

In one other uncontested race for Board of Supervisors, Larry Roller took the tiebreaker position with 8,141 votes.

Roller will become only the second tiebreaker after the position was created in the wake of a prolonged 2015 deadlock on the eight-member Board of Supervisors. Roller will take over for Jimmy Wade, who ran unsuccessfully in ED-5.

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Thank God Witt is gone. He’s the worst thing for Halifax County since JT Davis.

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