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1 runoff set for Monroe council; one candidate wins another seat by 1 vote

A Monroe city councilman won re-election by one vote, a councilwoman dropped out of the race and a runoff was set for the last seat available on the board, the Union County Board of Elections said Tuesday.

Last week, former Monroe police Chief Debra Duncan won enough votes to capture one of three council seats up for grabs. Her election also tilted the balance of power on the board away from the current majority, which frequently clashed with Duncan.

The election night ended with four candidates possibly facing a runoff for the two remaining seats: incumbents Margaret Desio, Freddie Gordon and John Ashcraft, as well as challenger Surluta Anthony.

But Desio, one of Duncan’s biggest critics, told the Board of Elections she did not want to participate in a runoff. Under election rules, because Desio dropped out, the board declared Gordon the winner of the second seat because he was the next highest vote-getter, board Director John Whitley said.

After Tuesday’s certification of the election results, Anthony asked for a recount. The results stayed the same, Whitley said: Duncan had 1,391 votes, followed by Gordon with 1,034, Ashcraft with 1,033, Anthony with 1,026 and Desio with 905. Three other candidates and write-ins split the remainder of the votes, which also included provisional ballots.

Desio, who has served one four-year term on the board, said her family persuaded her not to seek a runoff. “They asked me not to because of all the tension on the board,” Desio said.

Voter participation rate for the off-year election, which also saw Mayor Bobby Kilgore win re-election, was about 14 percent. That was substantially higher than other recent off-year races that saw participation hover around 8.5 percent.

The runoff between Anthony and Ashcraft is set for Nov. 5, the day of the general election for the rest of the region.

Anthony, a probation officer in Mecklenburg County, described herself as aligned politically with Kilgore and Duncan. Anthony said she appreciates the support she has received. “I’m eager to get started” on the runoff, she added.

Ashcraft is a commercial real estate broker and part of the current board majority along with Desio, Gordon and Lynn Keziah.

Ashcraft said he also is looking forward to the runoff, adding, “I’m just glad it’s only three weeks away.”

Bell: 704-358-5696; Twitter: @abell
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