Gaston County: Cloninger wins race for sheriff

Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger won re-election to his third four-year term on Tuesday.

In unofficial returns, Democrat Cloninger got about 60 percent of the vote to Republican Jerry Bryson’s 40.

Cloninger has held the post for 10 years, since being appointed to fill the final two years of the late Sheriff Leroy Russell’s term. Russell retired because of health problems in 2004.

Bryson is a lifelong Republican who joined the tea party movement when a Gaston branch was founded. This was his second try to win the sheriff job.

In the 2010 general election, Cloninger won his second term with 25,994 votes to Bryson’s 23,625.

Both candidates said they are staunch supporters of the U.S. Constitution and defenders of the Constitution’s Second Amendment. Both agree, however, with laws that ban felons convicted of violent crimes from owning guns.

Board of Education

In the nonpartisan Gaston County Board of Education election, Dot Cherry won the at-large seat with 51 percent of the vote. Behind her were Jerry Bostic with 26 percent, Rebecca Abernethy Schwindeman with 15 percent and Nick Huffman with 7 percent.

Catherine Bailey Roberts won the Dallas Township seat with 54 percent of the vote to incumbent Kay Gribble’s 46 percent.

In the race for the Gastonia Township seat, Lee Dedmon won with 47 percent over incumbent Mark Stephens with 40 percent and Daniel Ware with 13 percent.

Incumbent Chris Howell won the the race for the South Point Township with 53 percent of the vote, followed by Wil Neumann with 32 percent and Rae Marie Pritchard with 14 percent.

Ranlo alcohol

In the Ranlo alcohol elections, 51 percent voted against malt beverage sales and 49 percent voted for it; 50.17 percent voted against the sale of unfortified wine, and 49.83 percent for it.

But on the sale of mixed drinks, 51 percent voted in favor and 49 percent against.

Ranlo is surrounded by communities that have approved beer, wine and mixed-drink sales.

In July, first-term town commissioner Jamey Carver, seconded by commissioner Linda Rhyne, made the motion to place the issue on the ballot in the November general election. After discussion, commissioners James Jones and Effie Locklear opposed the idea.

Because commissioner Gail Tiderman was absent from the meeting, it fell to Mayor Steve Alexander to break the tie. He voted yes.