In Union County’s most hotly contested race Tuesday, the lone county commissioner to seek re-election in the Republican primary was the top vote-getter, according to unofficial returns for all precincts.
Nine people sought three seats. Commissioner Jerry Simpson received 20.08 percent of the vote, followed by Lance Simpson at 13.27 percent and former commissioner Stony Rushing at 12.82 percent.
Coming in fourth was another ex-commissioner, Tracy Kuehler, and fifth was Kim Ormiston.
Jerry Simpson had enough votes, according to unofficial returns to avoid a runoff. But the fourth- and fifth-place finishers may seek a runoff, election officials said.
With no Democrats running, the GOP primary looks to be the final word in the race. The seats are for four-year terms.
The five-member board is comprised of all Republicans. Todd Johnson and Jonathan Thomas decided not to run for re-election.
The other candidates were Richard Stone, Chris Laster, Sherry Hodges and Michael Alvarez, the Indian Trail mayor. Alvarez decided to drop out of the race but did not do so in time to get his name off the ballot.
There are some familiar names among the candidates. Hodges is a school board member, while Stone is another former county commissioner.
The board has seen its profile rise over the past year, mainly because of its battles with the school board, Mostly, they fought over money.
Last year, the school board sued the county over the amount of funding it provided the board in its annual budget. The school board won a $91 million judgment against the county, which commissioners continue to appeal.
The other contested race drew a smaller crowd. In unofficial returns, incumbent Sheriff Eddie Cathey crushed fellow Republican Tim Phillips. Cathey had 84.65 percent of the vote, unofficial returns show.
Democrat Sandra Peterson beat Jason Miles, who also decided to end his campaign, but did not do so in time to get his name off the ballot. Peterson had 76.90 percent to Miles’ 23.10 percent.