July runoff scheduled in Union County commissioners race

There will be a runoff in July to settle the Republican primary for Union County commissioner, elections officials said Thursday.

Nine people sought three seats on the board, but only commissioner Jerry Simpson won enough votes in last week’s election to avoid having a runoff. That left the fate of two seats up in the air.

Two candidates could have called for a runoff for those seats but only one did: former commissioner Tracy Kuehler. That meant the person with the second-highest vote total last week, Lance Sinpson, would not face a runoff.

Another former commissioner, Stony Rushing, was the third-place finisher. He will now face a runoff against Kuehler, who finished fourth. The runoff will be July 15.

Kim Ormiston, the fifth-place finisher, decided not to request a runoff. That means the person who finished second last week, Lance Simpson, was declared a winner in the race.

With no Democrats running, the five-member board will remain an all-Republican one.

Kuehler and Ormiston had until noon Thursday to notify the county Board of Elections if they wanted a runoff. Kuehler told the board about her decision at about 11:15 a.m., board Director John Whitley said.

Kuehler said she went back and forth on whether to ask for a runoff.

“In my mind, I owed it to my supporters, and to those who bothered to vote, to fight ’til the end,” she said.

If both Kuehler and Ormiston had requested a runoff, that could have made for some awkward moments on the campaign trail. The women ran as a team alongside Lance Simpson.

One-term commissioners Todd Johnson and Jonathan Thomas decided not to seek re-election for their four-year seats.

Jerry Simpson was the top vote-getter, with 6,717 votes, just over 20 percent of all votes cast. He was followed by Lance Simpson with 4,439 votes and Rushing at 4,289. Kuehler had 4,188 votes, 101 votes behind Rushing. Ormiston had 4,045 votes.

Other candidates on the ballot were Richard Stone, Clint Laster, Sherry Hodges and Michael Alvarez.